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School staffing shortage: What are local districts doing to work through hiring woes?

  • / Updated:
  • Rebecca Swift 

As districts throughout New York struggle with a lack of staff, local educators are working to hire.

“Since COVID, with all the changes since the pandemic, that exacerbated staff shortages especially in certain areas like mental health support, school psychologists and speech pathologists,” Seneca Falls Central School District Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reed said.

Related: Lawmakers consider tax break for teachers, other education workers in New York as staff shortage reaches crisis level

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

From bus drivers to substitute teachers, Reed said her district is upping its recruitment efforts. They’re reaching out to local colleges to ask about students who will be graduating.

“And looking differently and how you interview,” she said. “Giving people who are maybe more green more opportunities. Not necessarily just looking at someone who has done this five to ten years. But really take a look at those who you think have potential.”

Reed said she’s tapping into the local community more for support.

“We do work with an individual who helps us to write grants,” she added. “We’re working with local colleges like Finger Lakes Community College, Northeast College of Health Sciences. We’re all starting to have those conversations. The need for those conversations are more important. United Way, you name it, people are stepping up. And that’s what I admire about this community.”

Reed chimed in on what she thinks about a tax break for those who work in education, which lawmakers are considering.

“I think it would be good,” she said. “I know there’s also talk about the waiving of student loans. If you look at other occupations and salary ranges for professional occupations, it’s not the highest paid. I think a tax break would help. Because really we’re educating all those future occupations. So it all starts here.”