Schools increase staff ahead of new school year

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(ABC 6 News) – As schools use the final weeks of summer to prep for the new school year, for some districts that time might be used to fill positions urgently.

Students will fill the halls as the bell rings the first day of school. Halls, filled with more teachers than the years before.

“It’s the first time in a few years,” said Supt. Wayne Kronemann with West Hancock Community Schools.

Last school year, West Hancock was missing a home economics teacher, a bus driver, and several paraprofessionals. Kronemann says filling those positions has to do with luck and people moving to the area.

“Another part is possible, we did have to offer bonuses this year. That’s what we did to try and attract more this year. We offered anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.”

West Hancock isn’t the only district that struggled. Compared to last year at this time, Rochester Public Schools was struggling to fill positions.

“You know, everyone is doing whatever they have to do to get their positions filled,” Willie Tipton, the Coordinator of Equity for Rochester Public Schools told ABC 6 last August.

Related: Local districts work to tackle staffing issues

A year later, RPS is still struggling. The district is missing four student nutrition services, five maintenance positions, 37 education support professionals, and 33 teachers.

Meanwhile, Rushford-Peterson, Hayfield, and Triton are all fully staffed. That’s also the case for N.R.H.E.G. Public Schools where staff mental health is being put first. The district is offering different resources like workshops.

“Mental health for all people, if it’s student, if it’s employees, that has to be at the forefront that having a positive work environment, having a positive state of mind or wellbeing for students is very crucial,” said Supt. Michael Meihak with N.R.H.E.G.

All positions are filled including a new elementary music position. Superintendent Meihak says that’s because of the mental health resources available.

If you are interested in helping RPS with its staffing, you either need a teaching license or you need to apply to get one. Once that is done, you can apply to be a substitute for RPS.