Friday, September 15, 2000
A shortage of teachers and bus drivers in Concord
In spite of the fact that the Concord Public Schools officially welcomed 45 new educators, a record number, the remaining staff openings were the primary concern at the Regional School Committee meeting on August 29. One week prior to school opening, there were still nine openings, four of which were full-time positions. With a contingency plan in place, all classrooms could be covered, though in some instances, services were at risk. Fortunately a quick call to the personnel office confirmed that as of September 11, only one part-time position remains unfilled.
Beyond the challenge involved in filling these positions is the concern that this is a sign of what is to come. With a shortage of teachers nationwide, school systems all over the country have become very aggressive in recruiting the best teachers, traveling great distances in order to do so. With teachers now able to opt for an earlier retirement and a serious dearth of students opting for teacher training, this deficiency will likely escalate in the near future.
As an interim fix, Concord can hire candidates who are not certified but are qualified, with a waiver from the state, for a one-year period. There has to be evidence that reasonable effort has been made to fill the position with a certified candidate and it is expected that the teacher will seek certification over the course of the year.
Bus drivers' contract adjusted
In addition to a shortage in educators and support staff, Concord has been operating with a shortage of four bus drivers for the last 12 months and is now looking to hire five. Three mechanics, a secretary and a manager, all licensed drivers, have been called upon to fill in where needed.
In order to become more competitive and to attract experienced drivers, adjustments to the drivers' contracts have been made. The salary scale will be readjusted in a series of progressive steps. There will be an increase of 11.5 to 12 percent over the next three years and there will be a minimum of four hours of straight pay for field trips. The alternative of contracting busing out to a private company was considered, but with other companies experiencing similar shortages this did not appear to be a viable solution.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito