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School districts struggle to find workers for new year

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School districts in and around Cayuga County have had a hard time filling open staff positions for the 2022-23 school year.

Rural location hinders Southern Cayuga hiring

The Citizen quotes Southern Cayuga assistant Superintendent Loretta Van Horn as saying it’s gotten harder to hire in the last year. She says potential workers think the district’s rural location in Poplar Ridge makes it harder to get to. She also cites the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor that has changed the hiring market.

Van Horn says changes to state education law, including a greater emphasis on standardized testing, put into place during the Cuomo administration, mean fewer people are interested in becoming teachers.

She says some potential teachers have also cited the increasingly contentious atmosphere at school board meetings throughout the country.

Related: EXCLUSIVE: Will staffing shortages impact school this fall? Finger Lakes districts still hiring (video)

Hiring harder in some Cayuga County districts than others

While it hasn’t been easy finding the staff the district needs, Southern Cayuga was able to fill 15 positions, including teachers and a senior typist. Van Horn says the district has a reputation of being a good place to work.

There are still a few openings heading into the new school year. In Auburn, Superintendent Jeff Pirozzolo says the district has filled all its openings, thanks in part to the $9,835,000 it received in federal funds. Port Byron Superintendent Mike Jorgensen says his district was able to fill its opening, thanks in part to an early start advertising open jobs.

One district that says it did not have trouble filling positions this year is Union Springs. Cato-Meridian school officials say they are also fully staffed for the coming year.

Related: Auburn, North-Rose Wolcott, and Sodus school districts will share over $1M for student homelessness programs