Staffing shortages in schools is a problem across the country, so one local school district tried to change that through a recruitment fair Saturday.
The Panama-Buena Vista Union School District hosted their 4th annual “Casting Call” event to recruit for both certificated and classified positions. Those included full-time teachers, substitute teachers, bus drivers, custodial staff, maintenance staff, special education teachers, cafeteria staff and others. Officials say they are looking to hire staff in many areas of the district.
The district says nearly 400 people came to Highgate Elementary school to learn about and apply for jobs at the schools. Darryl Johnson, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at said being able to have events like these give people an opportunity to understand more about roles and the schools, to encourage them to apply.
He said in addition to recruiting through the county’s job fairs, having their own events helps people “feel the Panama family vibe that we have and culture that we build, it’s been amazing, and we’ll continue to do this.
In spite of the cold and windy weather, Johnson said the turnout at the event was encouraging. He adds that the shortage of available substitute teachers and staff has made things difficult at the district.
“That’s been our hardest hit area.”
Johnson says that the district would typically have a pool of about 300 substitute staff, but now, they have less than a 100 available. So, they are trying to incentivize people to apply for these positions, through higher salaries and helping increase their pay at a faster rate.
Before, a substitute teacher had to work for 21 days to be considered for a higher pay. But now, they only have to work 11 days for that.
And it’s not just inside the classroom. Todd Price, Transportation Director with says they have 5 full-time bus driver openings out of 60 positions. Price calls it “very rare” to have full-time driver positions available. “We have full time 8 hour jobs with full benefits for the employee and their families.”
Price adds that they always need substitute drivers as well because he says nearly a third of students rely solely on the bus to get to school.
“It’s really hard when we have to cancel routes, because there are some students that just do not have the ability to get to school if there’s no school bus. And we really take that into consideration,” Price said.
You can find the application to apply for positions at PBVUSD on the district’s website here.