NORTHWEST, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — As the pandemic causes educators to work remotely or be quarantined, many districts in our area are in need of more subs and bus drivers.
KNWA/FOX 24 spoke to districts who said substitutes and bus drivers are always in demand, but adding COVID-19 into the mix makes these needs compounded.
When you do find those, they are definitely a luxury.ANDREA MARTIN, SUPERINTENDENT, GREENLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT
Andrea Martin, with Greenland Public Schools, said the district is now paying substitute teachers $85 to $90 dollars a day — equal to surrounding bigger schools.
“I went to the school board and requested an increase on the daily rate for our subs to try and be more competitive,” Martin said. “It was an easy fix for us to be able to be on the same playing field so-to-speak.”
We tell our staff all the time, we can never replace you as the teacher in the classroom, but the next best thing is to find really good substitute teachers and count on them.ANDREA MARTIN, SUPERINTENDENT, GREENLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT
Zena Marshall with Fort Smtih Public Schools said the district is increasing the number of substitute workshops to put people to work faster than the school normally would.
“If you want to work with young people, we need you,” she said.
Rick Schaeffer with Springdale Public Schools said the district’s goal is to hire 15 more bus drivers by October 31.
“Every district in Northwest Arkansas, probably every district in America is always looking for bus drivers,” he said.
Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key addressed these needs on Tuesday, September 22.
He said there’s not a statewide effort because these issues stem from a local level.
It’s something we continue to keep an eye on as we continue to receive feedback from districts.SECY. JOHNNY KEY, ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
In the meantime, school districts said they’re doing everything they can to ensure people interested in these positions feel protected before applying.
You don’t have to worry about safety, every kid on that bus is masked.RICK SCHAEFFER, SPRINGDALE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Both are in need of bus drivers and substitutes.
Bentonville Public Schools was the only district to report it’s not in need of any of those positions as of now.
Tammy Winn, the Regional Vice President of Operations for ESS, an education staffing agency, said all the districts she works with have gone to great lengths to make sure that they comply with all the regulations.
“We are hoping that our substitutes will see how well everyone is doing and they’ll feel comfortable coming back to work, because we really need them,” she said.
We don’t turn down applications.TAMMY WINN, ESS REGIONAL VP OF OPERATIONS
All the districts said you can call the school if you want to learn more about how to apply for any of these positions or to get more information:
- GREENLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS — (479) 521-2366
- FAYETTEVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS — (479) 444-3000
- FORT SMITH PUBLIC SCHOOLS — (479) 785-2501
- ROGERS PUBLIC SCHOOLS — (479) 636-3910
- SPRINGDALE PUBLIC SCHOOLS — (479) 750-8812