WENTZVILLE, Mo. – School districts throughout St. Charles County are struggling with a worker shortage that’s forcing them to find creative solutions to keep education on track.
Dr. Danielle Tormala, superintendent of the Wentzville School District, says she’s dealing with a shortage of bus drivers and other positions.
“We are continuing to struggle to find specific positions like bus driver, custodians, instructional assistants that assist our teachers in the classrooms, child nutrition services that work hard to feed our kids on a daily basis, and positions like that,” she said.
According to Tomala, everyone has been pitching in to work through the challenges.
“We extended our times on buses. We are running our buses close to, or at, capacity. They’re full buses when they are running. Our bus drivers, they’re coming in early, they’re staying late, they’re picking up extra routes,” she said.
“Everybody in the transportation office that has appropriate certification to drive a bus, they’re driving a bus route. We’re looking at exploring ways to provide CDL Training to our coaches and our administrators to drive small buses for athletic events.”
According to the superintendent, the district was short about 10 bus drivers and 30 custodians. They’re planning to contract with a custodial company to deal with the shortage of custodians.
The Wentzville School District has already allocated $500,000 for pay increases, as well as incentives to address the problems.
Tormala believes the strategy is paying off. They’ve hired more bus drivers and other workers. But the superintendent does stress one thing.
“I would say, in our classrooms right now, we have our teaching positions staffed. So, the quality of education that our students are receiving is what our community expects here in our district,” she said. “It is our supplementary and ancillary services that we give to students and families, transportation, and custodial services that affect us, that’s where we continue to struggle.”
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