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Local school districts face employee shortages as a new school year is underway

Posted at 6:16 PM, Aug 22, 2022

Pencils are sharpened and the once empty classrooms are full again. But some local school districts on the Central Coast are still struggling to fill open positions.

“We are seeing the need for more classified staff. Those have the most vacancies right now. We’re looking for bus drivers, van drivers, maintenance workers, and paraeducators that help teachers in the classroom with students," said Shauna Ames, Human Resources Assistant Superintendent for the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD).

“Like the rest of the world, a significant need for paraprofessionals and bus drivers," added Jennifer Handy, Human Resources Assistant Superintendent for the Lucia Mar Unified School District (LMUSD).

LMUSD said help is also needed in supportive roles such as campus security, secretarial, and food services.

“We are able to provide transportation for many of our students. We would like to provide more and so with every driver comes an additional 80 students we can transport to and from school," Handy said.

Both district officials stated education does not stop and neither do any of the other school-related activities, so to account for these vacancies, current employees are stepping up to the plate.

“To account for some of our openings we have pulled in all the favors. We are contacting classified retired certificated teachers to help fill in the positions until we can get a more permanent solution. Also, we have substitutes that we are using and trying to stay competitive with substitute rates," Ames said.

“Our kids are first so we make sure we provide those services and we do so sometimes by putting in extra hours, we do so by sharing shifts, we have to be creative in some instances, but that’s how we do it," Handy said.

To recruit more employees PRJUSD said they hope to have one more career fair before the school year ends. LMUSD is holding interviews for paraprofessionals on the first Thursday of every month.