YPS still faced with teacher shortage

Positions must be filled as enrollment approaches 9,500

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Dr. Jason Simeroth

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

As student enrollment approaches 9,500, Yukon school officials this week said they must find certified and support staff to fill about 10 openings.

“We still have a shortage,” Yukon Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said at the Sept. 12th YPS board meeting. “And it’s a statewide, nationwide shortage.”

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These shortages occur when schools cannot find enough teachers in specific subjects to fill available job openings.

YPS administrators strive to recruit and hire the best personnel and have “welcoming and accommodating” buildings for them to work, Simeroth added.

New teachers and “guest” teachers also are provided ample resources after being hired, he noted.

Yet, six weeks after the 2022-23 school year started, the district still has a significant number of vacancies. Some new hires have resigned abruptly to the surprise of Yukon’s school chief.

“We search and we search for the best people that we can,” Simeroth said. “And we have people out recruiting all the time.

“It’s tough right now. But we’re going to continue to ‘fight’ and continue to hire the best people we can. And we’re going to work hard to keep them in our district.”

Besides facing a shortage of classroom teachers, YPS is seeking applicants for various support positions like teacher’s aides, bus drivers, and cafeteria, playground and crosswalk monitors.

The need to hire and retain quality personnel has become even more important as the school district continues to grow steadily.

With the 2022-23 school year well underway, the Yukon school district has grown by several hundred students since last year.

YPS enrollment on Sept. 12 totaled 9,497 students and was climbing, according to YPS Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jason Brunk.

An adjunct teacher policy was presented for adoption at the September school board meeting.

The new policy defines an adjunct teacher as “an individual with recognized, meritorious expertise in a given field but who does not hold a valid license or teaching certificate.”

The employee must be at least age 21 and meet all district employment requirements.

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THIS AND THAT …

Among business items approved at the Sept. 12th YPS board meeting were:

  • Adjunct teacher applications from Teri Becker (Physics), Wes McAtee (Speech and Drama), Noah Niederschuh (Health/Physical Education), Matt Olmstead (Health/Physical Education), Tara Zadora (Health/Physical Education), and Summer Ward (Elementary Education).
  • Annual school resource officer (SRO) contract with the City of Yukon to provide two police officers from August to May at the Yukon High School campus and two police officers at the Yukon Middle School campus. YPS will pay $300,000 for use of the four SROs.
  • Out-of-state travel requests from Samantha Manke and Courtney Hughes (varsity pom squad competition), James Rivera (marching band competition), Michelle Ankrom and Brian Hinson (national athletic director conference), Justin Raper, Matthew Parent and Rod Zimmerman (track competition), and Joe and Wendy Schneider and Brandon and Heather Cromwell (wrestling competition). All expenses covered by booster clubs.
  • Agreement with Specialty Care Medical/Pediatrics to provide “as needed” nursing services to students in absence of district nursing staff. Hourly rates are $55 for a registered nurse and $36 for a licensed practical nurse.
  • Sanctioning requests for Yukon Volleyball Booster Club, Yukon Girls Wrestling Club, Surrey Hills PTA, Yukon Takedown Club, and Yukon Quarterback Club.
  • 2022-23 collective bargaining agreement between the Yukon school district and Yukon Professional Educators’ Association.
  • Ninety-three school fund-raising applications.
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