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School Trustees Move To Fill Critical Labor Shortage Areas

By Carla O'Day

Photo: Ty O’Neil

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved re-hiring some retired staff to fill “critical labor shortage” areas, along with funds to repair aging schools.

Areas of critical need are industrial arts, which has a 15.6 percent average turnover rate; early childhood, which has a 7.75 percent turnover rate; English as a second language, a 7.5 percent turnover rate; and special education, with a 6.1 percent turnover rate. These areas collectively have 50 vacancies for the upcoming school year.

“While pool numbers compared to openings are currently strong in some subject areas, these subjects have typically been hard to fill and we would always exhaust other candidate options before selecting a critical needs hire,” Dawn Huckaby, chief human resources officer, wrote in a report to trustees. “Additionally, candidates may hold licensure in more than one area and may have secured another position but have remained in the hiring pool with the goal of being selected for a position with the district in the future.”

Huckaby noted that filling such positions has been a challenge for school districts nationwide for a number of reasons. For instance, some early childhood programs also serve special education students and require dual licensure.

According to the school district, the following guidelines apply when hiring a retiree to fill a position in a critical labor shortage area:

  • The position has to have been posted for internal transfer candidates to apply.
  • The position has to have been posted for pool and external candidates to apply.
  • The school must demonstrate that it has considered all candidates who applied for the position and all candidates in the hiring pool. Justification for non-selection of these candidates must also be provided.
  • The school must demonstrate the difficulty in filling the position due to special circumstances, including without limitation, special education or experience requirements for the position.
  • The human resources office has to provide the history and success of the efforts to recruit for the position, including, without limitations, advertising, recruitment outside of Nevada, and all other efforts made.
  • The human resources office has to have worked with the school to exhaust any long term substitute possibilities.
  • The human resources office has to have worked with the school and its partners in higher education to exhaust any paid internship possibilities.
  • The human resources office has to verify that the critical labor shortage teacher candidate is properly licensed for the assignment he or she is selected to fill, has current satisfactory employment references, review prior performance evaluations, and review prior disciplinary issues.
  • All critical needs hires require the approval of the chief human resources officer.

Repair Costs Approved

In other action, the board approved $186,000 to Nelson Electric Inc. for electrical panel upgrades at Reed High School.

Additionally, Simerson Construction LLC was awarded the following bids for attic access improvements: $152,802 at Dilworth Middle School, $125,850 at Sparks Middle School, $115,100 at Swope Middle School, and $158,200 at Traner Middle School.

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