Clarksville-Montgomery County school system has 200 unfilled jobs

Like many businesses in the area, the Clarksville-Montgomery County school system is experiencing staff shortages as a new school year begins.

The district has nearly 200 vacancies, records show.

It’s part of a bigger problem, as thousands of jobs remain vacant in Montgomery County. Vacancies range from skilled workers to waiters and retail.

Despite filling nearly 80 vacancies in the past two weeks, CMCSS Schools Superintendent Jean Luna-Vedder told the school board last week that the district was short of about 70 teachers at the start of the school year. courses for 2022-2023.

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The district will see its first full day of classes on August 11.

The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System is seeking streaming of school board meetings after the school board voted 7-0 to implement a recorded stream of biweekly meetings.

Colleges and high schools are experiencing the greatest shortage

The biggest teacher shortages are occurring at the middle and high school levels, Luna-Vedder said.

There are 20 openings at the middle level and 40 at the high school level, said CMCSS director of communications Anthony Johnson.

“Special education and secondary math and science are the areas of greatest need, and principals are actively recruiting to fill all vacancies. The goal is to have a certified teacher in every classroom, and the district works diligently to fill vacancies. However, when there are vacancies during the school year (some action must be taken),” Johnson said.

District plans could include permanent substitutes, combining classes so that a certified teacher leads instruction while a substitute helps with teaching and classroom management and transferring teachers between schools, a Johnson said.

There are also problems outside the classroom.

Not just a teacher shortage

In addition to open teaching positions, Johnson said there are 111 classified employee vacancies, including bus drivers, substitute teachers, child nutrition workers and more.

The jobs support departments that perform important day-to-day tasks for the district, Johnson said.

Substitute teachers, for example, are in high demand.

“We currently have 212 active substitutes and around 60 permanent substitutes. Ideally, we would have 400 to 450 active substitutes,” Johnson said. “Last school year, we had several days with teacher absences over 400, including a few that reached 450 or more, especially during peak illnesses. In January 2022 alone, we have had 1,070 absences due to COVID.”

And despite ongoing recruiting efforts, CMCSS continues to see a shortage of bus drivers, Johnson said.

The district lost about 78 drivers, though 50 drivers are in training and 24 more applicants are in line for a job fair held July 27, Johnson noted.

CMCSS director of operations Norm Brumblay told school board members last week that the district’s transportation department is in a better position to begin the 2022-23 school year than it was in 2021-22.

In addition to training, new bus drivers can expect a starting salary of between $16.27 and $18.66 per hour.

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Veteran bus drivers can earn up to $27.72 per hour.

Connection bonuses of $1,000 are offered to new drivers, as well as referral bonuses of $1,000.

Drivers are offered $10 per additional route and are eligible for performance bonuses of $600.

Bonuses are available for those who have been employed by CMCSS for 18 months or more.

Contact journalist Craig Shoup by email at [email protected] and on Twitter @Craig_Shoup. To support his work, sign up for a digital subscription to TheLeafChronicle.com.

Jeremy S. McLain