Muskegon County Public Schools facing staffing shortages as new school year around the corner
Over 100 positions remain open, many full-time
As the new school year is set to begin soon, Muskegon County Public School Districts are facing a staffing shortage that has resulted in over a hundred positions currently un-filled.
Officials say, from Fruitport to Whitehall, 16 public school districts across Muskegon County are grappling with a lack of teachers, administrators, coaches, janitorial staff and other positions that remain open, while the first day of school begins on Monday, August 29th , just two weeks away.
Currently, officials say, there are roughly 130 job openings that need to be filled, not including bus drivers or substitute teachers.
Kelly Powers is the Associate Superintendent for Human Services at the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. He says a “good chunk” of those available jobs are full time positions.
“You get a little antsy,” Powers said. “I don’t know if anyone is hitting the panic button yet, but we certainly have needs,” he said.
Part of the problem, he says, is that not only are school districts across Muskegon County competing with each other for qualified workers, but with other professions who are also suffering from a staffing shortage like manufacturing, health care, and the service industry.
“You drive around the road, (and you see signs that say) ‘We’re hiring,’ we’re hiring, we’re hiring,” and we are competing with the same people,” he said.
And while he says, some of those signs that offer impressive hourly rates don’t offer what a career in education does, like benefits and retirement, something he says school districts are using as a recruitment tool to sway jobseekers their way.