DECATUR – Difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers in Illinois will be the topic of a state Senate hearing in Decatur Monday afternoon.

Members of the Senate’s Education Committee will learn more about the problem and possible solutions during the hearing, set for 1 p.m. at Decatur Public Schools’ Keil Administration Building, 101 W. Cerro Gordo St., Decatur.

Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and a member of the committee, has noted that Illinois’ statewide teacher shortage poses an especially daunting challenge for rural and downstate school districts.

According to a teacher shortage survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools during the 2015-2016 schoolyear, 60 percent of school districts reported trouble filling teaching positions.

Of those that responded to the survey, 75 percent had seen fewer qualified candidates than in previous years, especially in rural districts and those in central and northwest Illinois. And 16 percent of schools had canceled programs or classes because of the lack of teachers – mostly special education, language arts, math and science classes.

The hearing is open to the public and the media.

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