Staffing shortages impacting Lincoln Public Schools

The biggest concern for the district remains bus drivers and with school now in session,...
The biggest concern for the district remains bus drivers and with school now in session, they’re nearly 50 drivers short of being fully staffed and 29 short from last year when routes were consolidated.(KOLN)
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 9:43 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Staffing shortages are hammering school districts across the nation as students head back to class. Lincoln Public Schools is no exception, with a number of openings for both certified and non-certified staff.

The biggest concern for the district remains bus drivers and with school now in session, they’re nearly 50 drivers short of being fully staffed and 29 short from last year when routes were consolidated.

“We had to consolidate from 156 routes to 123 routes, so with that consolidation, the routes got longer,” LPS Director of Transportation, Ryan Robley said. “We were having several routes that were running anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours late in the morning or afternoon. That’s what we’re trying to avoid at all costs is having students late.”

The goal for LPS transportation now is to hire as many qualified drivers they can, as quickly as possible.

“We are still continually pressing very hard to get people hired we’ve ran several ‘fast track to hire days’ through the summer, but we’re going to continue to do things of that nature,” Robley.

Inside the classrooms, resignations among certified staff have spiked nearly a third since the 2019-2020 school year. Despite the rise in resignations, human resources specialist for Lincoln Public Schools, Jessi Stilwagon said they’ve done a good job in staying close to fully staffed inside the schools.

Resignations have risen by nearly a third over the last three school years.
Resignations have risen by nearly a third over the last three school years.(KOLN)

“We’re not experiencing that same level of shortages,” Stilwagon said. “LPS is a super quality district, we have really quality candidates and we’re in a really good spot with our certified staff.”

LPS is still trying to hire a number of special education teachers, school psychologists and speech-language pathologists, but they’re hiring is still on pace to match years past.

“It’s kind of a normal spot for us to be in, there are always certain areas that are harder to fill so it’s no different than any other year,” Stilwagon said.

Stilwagon said as the district heads into the new school year, the focus will continue to be on mental health resources not only for students, but also teachers and staff.

“Burnout is something especially prevalent in education, it’s important to take care of yourself,” Stilwagon said. “We take on the cares of a lot of our students and families, so definitely have to prioritize our own health and mental health.”

You can find all certified and non-certified positions that are available on Lincoln Public Schools website.

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