HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Members of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and parents stood outside Hartford’s capitol Tuesday as legislators worked to finalize the state budget.  

They’re concerned about the state’s teacher shortage, calling it a crisis that’s getting worse. The group also wants state leaders to compensate teachers for their work over the last three years and provide better resources for the future.     

“We’re really getting a little bit tired of, ‘We love you. We care about you, but there’s nothing we can do,” CEA President Kate Dias said.

Dias represents 43,000 Connecticut teachers and said they had not received enough compensation or incentives for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“No acknowledgment whatsoever,” Dias said. “And even worse, my teachers are looking at starting salaries of an average of $48,000.”

According to the union, 74% of Connecticut teachers polled are considering leaving the profession. That’s up from 37% less than two years ago.  

The CEA said Connecticut started this school year with nearly 1,200 teacher vacancies, which has expanded to almost 1,700.

Parents said some of their children have had to have early dismissals or school closures due to the shortage.

Ian Laurencin said his 15-year-old son has had difficulty in school since his usual teacher left. 

“How is he receiving a proper education if you don’t have the teachers present?” Laurencin said.  

Gov. Ned Lamont’s office told News 8 that leaders are working to include significant investments in K-12 education into the proposed budget, which the General Assembly expects to vote on by the June 7 deadline.