Area School Districts Facing Staffing Shortages

DULUTH, Minn. — As we approach the end of the 2021 school year area districts like Duluth and Hermantown are concerned about their substitute teacher staffing moving forward.

Not only subs but bus drivers, paraprofessionals, custodians people behind the scenes who lift the educations system for the students.

It all affects the district’s ability to keep students learning in person, especially during the holiday season.

The Duluth School District says, their goal is to make sure students can get the proper instruction.

One way they hope to alleviate the shortage is by adding 14 permanent floating substitute teachers who are full-time paid teachers to move from school to school.

The hope is that other teachers don’t get too burnt out.

“If we have multiple retirements, multiple people leaving the system we are going to face even further shortages in the coming years. I’m hopeful that the community understands that we are trying our best and the staff understands as well because we really only have the best interests of our students at heart,” Duluth School District Superintendent, John Magas says.

Over in Hermantown, they too are experiencing staff shortages across the board with some teachers are having to cut their prep time to cover for other teachers, and bus drivers are having to drive multiple routes causing students to get home late.

The superintendent there says, this is not a sustainable model.

This, as covid cases continue to rise in the classroom.

“We’re seeing as many covid cases now as we did last year. Actually, we are seeing more. So I don’t know. I don’t know what the future holds with this. We know that in-person learning is best so we are going to do everything we can to keep the students here and keep it going and keep it running,” Hermantown School District Superintendent, Wayne Whitwam says.

Additionally, the Hermantown School District increased substitute teacher pay from $105 to $125 per with that increasing to $150 if you work in the district for 15 days.

Meanwhile, the Duluth district has raised substitute pay $125  to $150 per day.

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