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School Districts Nationwide Have Shortages in Bus Drivers, Cafeteria Workers, and Other School Staff

All over the United States, there is now a shortage of school staff. The current situation has made it difficult for school administration to operate the way they used to before the pandemic. There is a distinct shortage in the number of bus drivers in Massachusetts and many other states. Gov. Charlie Baker in Massachusetts had no other way but to activate the National Guard for helping with the low numbers of bus drivers. A similar situation is in North Carolina, where the legislators are trying to deal with the shortage of cafeteria workers as best as they can. They have adopted a strategy wherein they offer federal funding to school districts to pay signing bonuses to the new hires. Certain Missouri districts have chosen to waive off some of the traditional requirements associated with becoming a substitute teacher, hoping that this can attract more applicants.

School districts in all parts of the country are now desperate to find efficient people who can serve the various job posts within their institutions. While some schools are finding it complicated to retain the counselors, principals, and teaching staff, others are struggling to look for employees who typically operate behind the scenes, such as substitute teachers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers. The pandemic has made it rather difficult for many low-paying industries such as eateries and restaurants to retain their workers as they do not find any value in that. However, things have been bad for the schooling districts for a long time now, since workers in this sector have to deal with low benefits, erratic working schedules, and even low salaries. It means that the problem that existed in the schooling sector grew worse with the advent of the pandemic.

COVID-19 pandemic has made workers like bus drivers apprehensive since they may come in direct interaction with children. The pandemic unemployment benefits offered by the federal government have ended recently and led people to wait for more lucrative opportunities instead of going for these jobs. Such shortages of working professionals have affected many families who have been operating under stress for quite some time. Since the numbers of bus drivers have dwindled significantly in recent times, what used to be a 15-minute ride to the school has become a 90-minutes ordeal. It has not only made things difficult for the students but also their parents.

Currently, there are many unfilled positions within the schools of the district. Moreover, this is only expanding further with every passing day. The schools are now looking to find more drivers, teachers, nutritionists, administrators, and counselors that can contribute in their specific ways to better the functioning of the schools. While at one point in time schools lacked sufficient funding; now there is a flow of federal funding to back things up at the present moment. However, the irony is that even though there is a lot of money, human capital is missing.