HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – For many local superintendents, the summer has been overshadowed by a looming staffing crisis at schools across the Midstate.
Compared to 2010, teaching certifications in Pennsylvania are down a whopping 66-percent, and with the start of school now just weeks away, districts are racing to fill the gaps.
“Right now, we’re probably looking for at least 20 instructional aids or paraprofessionals for our kids,” Carlisle Area School District Superintendent Colleen Friend. “[We’re also] in need of cafeteria workers and bus drivers. Everyone is critical to public education.”
The district is now being forced to cut corners.
“We prioritize with our special education students, like anyone who has an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan),” Friend said.
Friend said she and the district have worked round-the-clock to recruit; pleas have been made through online and radio advertisements.
“We even put up a billboard, which we’ve never done,” she said.
For many districts, the issue spills into retaining staff. Mifflin County School District Superintendent Vance Varner said he had two resignations in two days. His district is now scrambling to fill the positions.
“This is the worst I’ve seen it,” Varner said. “Zero. We have zero applicants right now.”