In a couple of weeks, beaches will be emptier, vacations will be complete and students and teachers will be back at their desks throughout York County to begin another year.

But not as many teachers will be in the classrooms as last year.

Northeastern School District Superintendent Shawn Minnich said the district hired only one new teacher this year and left other positions vacant. South Western School District Superintendent Barbara Rupp called the state of teaching a "buyer's market."

York-area schools are not alone when it comes to leaving teaching positions

unfilled after a retirement or when a teacher leaves.

Economic troubles and budget cuts have hit school districts hard in recent years, leaving roughly 20,000 teaching jobs unfilled in Pennsylvania in the past two years, according to a report by the Pennsylvania State Education Association.

According to the report, 64 percent of the 501 districts in the commonwealth will leave at least one teaching position unfilled.

One of the groups most affected is recent college graduates with education degrees.

PSEA spokesman Lauri Lebo pointed much of the blame at Gov. Tom Corbett, whose term has seen cuts in funding to public education, according to the PSEA report.

"(College graduates are) frightened," Lebo said.


Broadening search: Debra Lynch, a special-education professor at Kutztown University, said she advises students looking for teaching jobs to expand their search beyond specific counties or states to improve their chances of finding that first job.

"In preparation, we all suggest being very open about where they want to teach," Lynch said. "The bigger the area in which they are searching, the better the chance to get a job."

The class of 2013 also must go through new testing and certification standards. Previously, college education majors could get certified in kindergarten to sixth grade, grades seven to 12, or in special education from birth to age 21.

New teachers now have the option of becoming certified in pre-kindergarten to fourth grade, grades four to eight or grades seven to 12. They can also get dual-certified in a secondary level content area such as math or science, or in special education.

They are also the first class required to take the Pennsylvania Education Certification Tests.

Minnich said dual-certification helps a candidate's chances.

First job: At South Western, Rupp said she likes hiring new college graduates for a pretty simple reason.

"I like this to be their first job," Rupp said. "I think we get to train them the way we want them. We get to integrate them into our culture. We get to really get a little bit of a sense of loyalty because it's your first job."

But Rupp said if they don't get a full-time job by the start of the school year, there's still hope.

"I always tell people, 'If you don't get the job, substitute,'" Rupp said. "Do a good job substituting because the teachers will tell the principals."

Minnich and Rupp said it's not easy, though, for new teachers trying to find jobs. Minnich said he doubts Northeastern's circumstances will improve in the next few years.