Staffing shortages plague NEO Ohio school districts desperate to fill vacancies for upcoming school year

Posted at 6:29 AM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 06:29:07-04

WOOSTER, Ohio — The need for teachers across the country continues.

According to a Spring 2022 American School District Panel survey, 90% of school districts nationwide changed operations in one or more of their schools this past school year because of teacher shortages.

Here in Ohio, President of the Ohio Education Association, Scott DiMauro, says there are currently more openings throughout the state compared to past years

“We have more openings than we're used to seeing, and we have fewer people who are seeking education jobs right now,” DiMauro said.

DiMauro says non-competitive salaries, benefits, and work conditions are partly to blame.

“Coming through the pandemic, you know, all the challenges related to COVID and related to staff shortages, substitute shortages really put an impact on teachers,” he said. “Then you also have political attacks. You have people's professional autonomy that is being challenged; their ability to teach an honest education of their students. All of those things combined to really create a challenging environment and a challenging job market for educators.”

But other essential staff like custodial and food service workers are also in short supply.

“We really struggled this past year with our bus drivers, which made, you know, many of our routes kind of run late and was inconvenient to parents,” said Brian Madigan, Assistant Superintendent of Wooster City Schools.

Madigan says in an effort to attract help and fill vacancies, the school district is hosting its first job fair this year on July 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wooster Branch Of The Wayne County Public Library.

“It’s really our classified positions, which focus on our maintenance, custodial, food service, transportation, and grounds, [but] there's a wide range of opportunities that are out there to support our school.”

While the American school district panel reports more than three-quarters of districts nationwide have increased their number of teaching and non-teaching staff above pre-pandemic levels, the concern with support this upcoming school year in Ohio remains.

“Educating kids is a community effort,” said Madigan.

South Euclid Lyndhurst Schools is also hosting a job fair on July 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Administration Building. The district is looking to hire substitute teachers, substitute educational aides, and substitute intervention specialist assistants. Applicants will need to bring a resume for onsite interviews