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Local schools struggling with staffing shortages

Local schools dealing with staffing shortages
Local schools dealing with staffing shortages 02:53

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Only a couple of weeks into the school year and districts across the U.S. are already dealing with one of their most pressing issues: staffing shortages.

According to the educators KDKA spoke with, the issue has been happening over the past several years, a slow decline not only in the number of applicants for teaching positions but also the number of new teachers.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Human Capital Manager Edy Anako said their need for teachers is primarily in special education and English as a second language. But there are plenty of other positions that also need to be filled.

"We are seeing a shortage with our food service workers, with our secretarial clerical employees," said Anako.

In the New Kensington Arnold School District, it's the same issue.

Leaders routinely reach out to nearby colleges for candidates but often come up short and it's been a challenge finding student and day-to-day substitute teachers.

"People get sick, and they have stuff going on," said New Kensington-Arnold School District Assistant Superintendent Jon Banko. "Now you got to either find someone to go in there and cover like a specials teacher or you got to split classes so that the kids can be supervised."

Over in the Bethel Park School District, securing subs, paraprofessionals and bus drivers has been a headache, even despite offering competitive wages. And when they do fill their teacher vacancies, it can be a long wait until that new hire can officially come on board.

"By law, schools are able to hold teachers up to 60 days so they don't disrupt their learning so we did hire some teachers this summer but until their schools release them, we had to start the year with some long-term subs," said Bethel Park High School Principal Joe Villani.

Some of the people KDKA spoke with recognize the more flexible work models many employers are offering these days may seem more appealing. But they also pointed out that there are numerous rewards to the teaching profession, including good retirement benefits and of course holidays and summers off.

Bottom line: educators said the talent pool is simply not there anymore and if interest in the field of education does not begin to grow soon, by 2025, the staffing shortage could become a staffing crisis.

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