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School hiring crunch

“We’ve been in a constant frenzy of hiring since we closed on June 30"
Poll: More than 60 percent of New Yorkers say completely reopening schools is too risky
Posted at 4:54 PM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 17:20:08-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — School districts across Western New York have been hiring during the summer months for a variety of jobs as they prepare for the 2022-2023 school year that begins in just a few weeks.

But some districts say they it has been challenging to find enough qualified candidates.

“The struggle is to just find qualified applicants in education lately across the board,” remarked Michale Lauria, an assistant superintendent, Grand Island Central School District

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Michale Lauria, an assistant superintendent, Grand Island Central School District.

All you have to do is Google school hiring in Western New York and the postings fill your screen.

“We definitely are noticing that it's more difficult to hire not only teachers — many of the staff we need to run our buildings,” explained Lauria.

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Inside Grand Island classroom on first day of school.

“Is there any area that is needier than another in your district?" Buckley asked. “We find some difficultly in specific areas such as Spanish, special education and the sciences — sometimes even math, so it really depends on the certification,” responded Lauria.

Hamburg Central School Superintendent Michael Cornell, who's also president of the Erie Niagara School Superintendent Association tells me his district has been able to hire in several areas including social work and school-based mental health.

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Hamburg Central School Superintendent Michael Cornell.

“Is there a strong need for more teachers?” Buckley questioned. “Yes, we still need teachers. As a larger district, Hamburg — we sometimes draw from smaller districts but there's a lot of school districts out there who are still looking for teachers,” answered Cornell.

“What about those substitute teachers?” Buckley asked. “We’ve been hiring them all summer. We have kind of rolling interviews and rolling hiring all summer long. We hire certified and un-certified subs as the state allows,” replied Cornell.

“We’ve been in a constant frenzy of hiring since we closed on June 30th,” stated Adam Stoltman, superintendent, Alden Central School District.

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Adam Stoltman, superintendent, Alden Central School District.

Alden Superintendent Stoltman tells me his district has been hiring for just about every position.

“Many of the specialized areas, technology, business and foreign language at the secondary level — we're still seeing an incredible shortage,” explained Stoltman.

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Alden High School students learning about news literacy.

“We have noticed that since the pandemic we have had an increase in vacancies. We've had more challenges to find required certified teachers to be able to fill those positions,” commented Lauria.

“Did you have to hike pay in different positions too to entice people?” Buckley questioned.

“We’re currently in negotiations with some of the unions, our support staff particularly and we have had many conversations about the need to increase pay in those areas,” Lauria explained.