School is back in session next week, but districts across the state are still seeing a few staffing sore points.
While some Chittenden County schools say staffing is adequate for the upcoming year, many districts are still dealing with the fallout of a nationwide shortage.
The Burlington and Winooski school districts say the number of teachers on campus has returned to normal levels.
Sarah Haven, director of finance and operations at the Winooski School District, says they’ve been “pretty lucky.”
“For professional staff, we haven’t really struggled that much,” Haven says, adding that the district is fully staffed with licensed teachers.
Likewise, Burlington Superintendent Tom Flanagan says the district is in much better shape compared to a year ago.
“This year we’re feeling much better,” he said. “We’ve got all of our classroom teachers in place.”
Still, both districts say they are still struggling to hire support staff.
Katherine Blair, director of support services for Winooski schools, says the district has 12 openings for support staff.
“We typically have about 50 positions for support staff,” she said. “We have about 38 people hired right now.”
Support staff help students with academic and behavioral needs. Blair says a shortage means existing staff will have to shift around on a day-to-day basis to work with the students.
“We’re lucky because we’re all in one building, so it could be that we have students out at the middle school, high school, and we are able to really be flexible about the use of our staff within the building,” she says.
Flanagan says the vacant positions will have no effect on daily operations.
“We do still need some hard-to-fill positions, — special education paraeducators, a school psychologist, bus drivers and bus aids are positions that are still out there. So we’re looking for our last couple of people,” says Flanagan.
He says some resources, such as counseling, can be shared within the district to meet the needs of the students.
Both schools head back to the classroom on August 30.