SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Some kids may find their favorite teachers haven’t come back to school this year, or that cool substitute they remember from their homeroom is no longer around.
Schools nationwide are struggling with hiring staff members from para-educators to custodians to bus drivers. For example, in Sioux Falls alone, more than 300 positions are still available despite their new year starting Thursday.
Here in Siouxland, the problem isn’t any better.
“We are always looking for great employees. This year has been particularly challenging from certified openings to our classified staff to fill the many roles we need in the district,” said South Sioux City Human Resources Director Jill Gill.
A variety of factors have gone into the shortage, particularly in substitutes, but Gill said there’s nearly 30 roles left to fill, a need that she has not seen before.
“Substitutes, we can never find enough of year to year. This year, however, for our other remaining openings, yes, this is unprecedented. I haven’t seen this in my over nine years in the district,” said Gill.
Although the numbers may not equal Sioux Falls, another South Dakota school district is also having trouble finding the staff needed to keep the system flourishing.
“Just so many opportunities for employment in our community and across the state that if they were at all concerned about finding something different, they could find other employment. We’re all competing for the same folks this year, and I don’t know if that’s going to stop anytime soon,” said Vermillion School District Superintendent Damon Alvey.
Another reason for this wave of short staffed schools is due to numerous teachers calling it quits after going through the rigorous battle of teaching through COVID-19.
“Some of those people are of retirement age, and they’ve been just hanging around because they love to work with kids or they love the environment. Well, between COVID or other struggles in their lives, they might’ve decided that this was the year to retire,” said Alvey.