ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Educators met on Friday to share their budget proposals for next year, but an issue facing schools for years to come took center stage.

Over the next decade, the New York State Educational Conference Board said about 180,000 new teachers will be needed.

“We have a need for many many teachers, and we don’t see in the pipeline enough people being directed, students being directed, into education,” New York State Educational Conference Board Chair John Yagielski said.

Yagielski said another issue is diversity. According to the board, students of color make up 56 percent of the state’s pupil enrollments, but 80 percent of teachers are white.

“If you look at the make-up of our students and compare it to the make-up of the teaching staff, we’ve got a miss-match in terms of diversity,” he said.

In order to address the issue the board is recommending:

  • The state make educator and workforce shortages a priority;
  • The legislature provide $50 million towards expanding programs to address the issue; and
  • Policy makers further supporting programs between schools and colleges, university and community partners.

“It’s a great occupation,” Yagielski said. “Very rewarding profession but more and more teachers themselves are discouraging their own children from going into teaching largely because we’ve gone through a very rough period of time in terms of lacking the value of our teachers.”

Overall, the New York State Educational Conference Board is proposing a $2.1 billion state aid increase to schools in the budget.