WASHINGTON D.C. (LEARFIELD/KMHL) – U-S Senator Tina Smith is pushing for hearings on a new bill that aims to help schools and districts in Minnesota and across the country hit hard by teacher shortages.

“This shortage looks even worse in rural areas and high poverty districts,” said Smith. “I learned about this from talking with school districts and superintendents from all across Minnesota. They told me that more than 40 percent of our country’s small and rural districts are struggling to find the teacher that they need.”

Smith held one of those conversations with officials at the Marshall School District back in June.

Smith’s bill would allow school districts across the country to apply for grants to help them to attract and retain skilled teachers.

“Local districts know best what to do to address this teacher shortage,” said Smith. “So it provides grants to local districts to go to work to solve this problem.”

School districts all across southwest Minnesota are having a tough time finding and keeping quality teachers.