Faced with staff shortage, schools offer bonuses and incentives
Figures released this morning will show the turnover rate of the workforce, including in schools. School districts across the country are ramping up recruitment with the start of the new school year, but many are also struggling to retain current employees – not just teachers, but cafeteria cooks and bus drivers as well.
Now, the spread of the delta variant could make it even more difficult for schools to find employees.
Normally, when Patrick Downey needed to hire a cook or a cashier, he would put an ad and then take it down once he found someone.
“Right now I’m just leaving my ads, they just don’t fall,” Downey said.
Downey’s company, All Seasons Foods, is a supplier of school meals in Florida. Downey already pays above minimum wage, but wants to add health insurance benefits to help retain and attract new employees.
“I mean, it’s gonna be tough. There is no doubt about it, ”he said.
It’s tough for school districts across the country. Some offer new school bus drivers up to $ 2,000 in hiring bonuses. Schools in Henry County, Georgia will give staff members $ 1,000 if they receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
But some districts cannot require masks in schools, due to state-imposed mandate bans. This is the case in Oklahoma, where Victor Gonzalez teaches English to learners.
“I mean, some people won’t go into education just because it’s not safe.” he said.
Although it is not mandatory, Gonzalez is vaccinated, but he will hide in the classroom until the delta variant calms down.