School District Needs Bus Drivers, Nurses, Substitutes, Paraprofessionals, Nutrition and Custodial Workers
The global pandemic has proven challenging to businesses and organizations across the state, country and world. Many local school districts cannot find people to fill open positions including transportation, custodial, nutrition, nursing, paraprofessionals and crossing guards. Many are struggling to even maintain enough substitute teachers.
With the state’s new school funding mechanism projecting flat or decreased funding in Nevada for the next several years, many districts are “belt-tightening.” However, there are necessary operational positions that still need to be filled.
The Carson City School District currently has open positions for:
- Bus Drivers (3)
- Nutrition Workers (4)
- Custodians (2)
- Substitute Custodians
- School Nurses (2)
- Substitute Nurses
- Paraprofessionals (3)
- Substitute Special Education Paras
- Substitute ESL Paraprofessionals
- Crossing Guards
- Substitute Teachers
The Carson City School District said one reason for the lack of candidates is due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused hardships on families where working from home has forced adjustments on career assignments as well as the challenges of remote learning where students are home more often.
“The positions that are hard to fill are those where people physically need to be at work on site to clean, to drive a bus, to prepare meals, etc.,” said Richard Stokes, Carson City Schools Superintendent. “Many positions continue to remain open.”
Bus drivers, cooks and custodians typically start their workday before school starts and end mid-afternoon. For many workers, the earlier schedule is more challenging for those with families, especially if they have young children trying to get to school or coordinate remote learning from home. For crossing guards, the hours are intermittent during the day, which makes it difficult to maintain another full-time position if they are working as a crossing guard.
The opportunity for higher wages is part of that as well. Currently, the district employs 950 full-time and 225 part-time staff members. Of the 360 educational support personnel 100 staffers work 40 hours a week for 12 months. The other 260 personnel average 30 to 35 hours a week for 10 to 11 months.
“While that provides a ‘limited niche market,’ it makes it hard to compete with those offering higher wages or full-time work,” said Associate Superintendent Jose Delfin, who oversees human resources for the Carson City School District. “If someone wants full-time work, we’ll always lose people to that.”
The district has taken a pro-active approach since the last recession with wage studies, reclassification of jobs and increased salaries. A beginning bus driver with no experience makes $14.04 an hour. A nutrition employee with no experience makes $13.28 an hour to start. A starting custodian with no experience makes $13.64 an hour. Crossing guards will earn $10.69 an hour. Many school districts in Nevada do not even employ crossing guards and rely solely on community volunteers or teaching staff to assist with guard duties.
The benefits package also helps recruit employees and it’s available for those who work 30-plus hours a week, including the transportation department where they work 20 hours per week and earn health and retirement benefits. Some districts in Nevada don’t offer benefits to their transportation employees.
The school district also tries to keep a pool of 60 dependable substitute teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels, along with needing a few substitute nurses each year, Delfin said.
Because of the immediate need, the school district also said it is opening some of these service-oriented positions for high school students to apply.
“We are in grave need of workers at this point,” Stokes said. “And if we can coordinate a high schooler’s schedule to where they take on a position after their school lets out for the day, the district’s rate of pay for a student worker is $10.00 an hour.”
For those who are interested in applying, Delfin said visit http://www.carsoncityschools.com/news/News_Releases/now_hiring