Staffing shortages were the undercurrent of a special meeting of the Washington Community School Board held this week.
Superintendent Willie Stone called for the board to meet on Wednesday to approve four staff resignations so they can begin the hiring process as soon as possible. Stone mentioned that one of the four resignations is immediate while the others are effective at the end of the school year. The board also discussed having early layoffs for every Friday in the next school year. Since the pandemic, the school board has taken steps each semester to add early departures to give staff extra preparation time, as Stone pointed out how staff have been stretched, “Today we had 37 vacant positions, eight of them did not need a sub, 14 positions are filled and 15 positions are vacant. So we had to fill inside and it was actually even more the day before I think we had 48 vacancies, 18 unfilled, 18 filled and 12 that didn’t need a replacement. So we have people going above and beyond by using their prep time, using their break time to be able to work. And I think it’s our ability to give them time to do what they need to do.
The board did not act on the matter, as Stone said he wanted to speak to it now so they could approve it before the fall of 2022 to give parents adequate notice, and he recommended that they change dismissal time from 1:10 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. He commented that this schedule could change if the district sees an increase in the number of substitute teachers available or if the pandemic subsides, which he says has prevented substitutes to work in schools.