124 teaching posts remain vacant at the MMSD | Education

The Madison Metropolitan School District still has about 124 vacant teaching positions more than a month into the school year.

And officials aren’t finding enough replacements to cover openings when other vacancies like special education assistants are considered. central office staff members fill the buildings two days a week.

“We’re still hiring, we’re still walking people through the onboarding process,” Caradine said.

The 124 vacancies are down slightly from two weeks before the school year, when Superintendent Carlton Jenkins told CNN the district had “about 135” vacancies. In August, school board chairman Ali Muldrow compared the situation to August 2018, when the district had 30 vacancies before the 2018-19 school year.

On Monday, Muldrow told administrators that she would appreciate more information on developments in the buildings.

“It would be really helpful to have an overview of our vacancies and our fill rate for contractors, especially since we ask our admins to outsource about two days a week,” Muldrow said. “If we have administrators filling in, if we’re asking teachers to fill in, if we’ve had a robust hiring effort for replacements, overall I’m curious about our approach to filling vacancies.”

A parent of two school-age children, Muldrow said she wants to understand what vacancies mean for students, citing examples like a science class where the full-time teacher has yet to be hired, or how schools work to provide stability to students whose classrooms need a replacement.

“When you get back to us… it would be really helpful to understand the full extent of our staffing strategy in terms of filling vacancies, whether it’s long-term deputy ministers, central office administrators substitutes or teachers using their scheduling time to fill in for faculty members who aren’t there on a given day,” Muldrow said. “I’m curious what our overall approach is to making sure someone is in front of our kids.”

Caradine said the district is working on “a solid hiring plan, recruiting plan.”

Given the school year schedule, the Cape Times asked district spokesman Tim LeMonds in an email on Tuesday whether the district plans to fill openings or expects them to remain vacant.

“We continue to work very diligently and strategically to fill positions as they become vacant, and we intend to fill these positions as soon as we can,” LeMonds wrote in response.

The Cap Times also asked for reports on surrogate fill rates so far this year, but LeMonds said the human resources department is preparing them for a presentation to the board on Monday.

Moreover, when asked “what is the district doing to fill these vacancies with numbers nearly the same as a month ago, at the start of the year?” LeMonds replied, “Our numbers are not the same as they were at the start of the school year.”

“Our teacher fill rate is 83%, and so far the district has filled 607 teaching vacancies for this new school year,” LeMonds wrote. “Of the more than 2,400 teaching positions at MMSD, the current number of vacancies can be, in part, attributed to a combination of attrition with recent departures and internal transfers as teachers move on. teacher needs and shortages.

“The District is continuing its aggressive recruiting efforts to recruit and hire new employees and retain current staff.”

COVID leave, underpay

On Monday, the board discussed a pair of administrative proposals targeting employee benefits that it is expected to vote on later this month. One would provide five days of COVID-19 leave this school year, while the other would provide a bonus for staff covering other classrooms during their prep time.

A memo from Caradine on the second point explained that “the incentive is meant to serve as a short-term solution to help address the staffing challenges MMSD is experiencing.” The change would provide a bonus equivalent to the difference between a teacher’s normal hourly rate and the usual $22 an hour for classes taught during teacher prep time.

Asked how often teachers give up prep time to cover a class, Caradine said it’s “a tough question to answer” but “a good question.”

“All I can say is that every school is different, so it just depends on what that school needs at the time,” she said.

Board member Laura Simkin requested the information as she plans to vote on the policy later this month. Caradine said she would look into the matter and senior staff manager Richard McGregory promised they would pass the information on to the board.

“We need to know a dollar amount around what we’re going to vote on,” Simkin said.

The Cape Times asked LeMonds for a breakdown of vacancies by school Tuesday morning, but LeMonds said in an email Wednesday that the data would not be available in time for the story to be released.

“We currently only break it down by school level, and breaking it down by school would take time to synthesize our HR department,” LeMonds wrote. “This cannot be provided within your time frame.”

The proposed COVID leave would require staff to show a positive test for themselves or a family member they need to care for. If the days are not used, they will not be paid at the end of the year.

Trustees floated the idea, which is similar to one approved last year, as a way to “extend human decency” to staff. However, they acknowledged that it is a challenge, given staffing shortages.

“We are challenged to try to find collaborative solutions in a thoughtful and deliberate way,” Caradine said.

Officials said they spoke with surrounding school districts and found that less than a third of them were completing a COVID leave procedure beyond their already existing sick days.

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