Like other school districts and industries, Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools continues to experience staffing shortages unlike any the district has seen in its history.
Just last month, the staffing crisis and inability to find substitutes forced the district to temporarily move to distance learning. Now, as a district, we continue to implement various strategies to address the crisis including parent/guardian volunteers, administrators and staff stepping up to fill vacancies.
With all that we have done and continue to do, staffing shortages continue to present significant challenges to the day-to-day operations of our schools. In addition to the daily absences, the major staffing crisis stems from the number of openings throughout the district.
Currently, there are more than 60 full and part-time open positions in PLSAS. Opportunities provide a range of positions including paraprofessional, custodial maintenance, child nutrition services and substitutes topping the list of most-needed positions.
We know that our district is not unique in this situation. Recently I was in a meeting with area superintendents where we heard from Minnesota State Demographer Dr. Susan Brower, who shared an overview of the 2020 U.S. Census results. Some of the statistics she shared centered on jobs in Minnesota.
Brower explained that there were 206,000 job openings in Minnesota in early 2021 and only 124,000 people actively looking for work. The census also revealed a declining work-age population as more Baby Boomers enter retirement. The bottom line? Unless there are changes in migration, the workforce shortages are expected to continue for many employers in the coming years.
While we may be facing staffing challenges into the foreseeable future, we are doing everything we can to encourage people to look at our open positions and consider applying. We believe there may be people right here in our community who would find these positions rewarding and could lend their talents to play a critical role in helping students learn.
The range of opportunities we have provide many options to fit different skill sets and schedules while working in the community and with students. To view PLSAS open positions visit www.priorlake-savage.k12.mn.us and click on “Join Our Team.”
While we are not alone in this staffing crisis, we will continue to seek solutions and make the best decisions possible for our district on behalf of our community’s students and families.
Dr. Teri Staloch is the superintendent of Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools.