Hiring challenges continue for school districts as fewer candidates are applying due to low pay, minimal benefits, stressful job responsibilities, and political controversies, according to a recent survey.
The nationally representative sample of 255 principals and 280 school district leaders, conducted by EdWeek Research Center, shows most districts reported fewer applicants this year compared to the same time last year. Three-quarters surveyed said the number of applicants for teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, food service workers, and custodial workers is insufficient for the number of jobs available. Only 10 percent of surveyed districts report having more applicants than last year, yet the shortage remains true for those districts, too.
Some positions are experiencing the shortage more severely than others. The percent of districts surveyed that didn’t have enough applicants to fill the following positions include:
- Bus drivers: 86 percent
- Teachers: 72 percent
- Paraprofessionals: 69 percent
- Administrators: 35 percent
When schools are not properly staffed, students could lose instructional time and valuable services, such as getting to school on time and being served meals. Students with disabilities, students from poor families, and English-language learners are disproportionally harmed by staff shortages due to their dependency on school resources.
Existing employees, including administrators, teachers, secretaries, and paraprofessionals, are having to cover classes or conduct other duties, limiting time to complete their own job responsibilities and causing additional stress.
The challenge of properly staffing schools does not appear to be going away any time soon, nationally nor in Texas, as demand is high, as noted in Education Staffing by the Numbers. Implementing creative recruitment strategies may help districts with these challenges.
Cheryl Hoover is an HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Cheryl an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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