The struggle to hire and retain teachers in Arizona schools continues.

An annual survey by the Arizona Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA) shows the teacher vacancy rate has improved only slightly year over year. There were 1,328 vacant teacher positions at the end of August.

The survey involves more than half of K-12 districts and charter schools in the state -- representing most of Phoenix metro area public schools.

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"My concern is a lack of 'regular standard' teacher candidates and the lack of competition for jobs," said Justin Wing, former president of the ASPAA.

The survey also showed 526 teachers either resigned or abandoned their positions within the first month of the school year. Wing said that number is likely an underestimate of the actual problem.

"I've spoken with district leaders just in the last couple of weeks, after the survey was taken, saying they wished they would have waited to submit their data because more teachers have left," Wing said. "One district last week had three special education teachers turn in their keys in one day."