Minnesota superintendent fills in for teachers, lunch staff as shortages prevail: We’re all ‘stepping up’

Duluth Schools Superintendent John Magas told “Fox & Friends” Thursday that the variety of jobs he’s covered this school year include teaching, administrative office work, and lunch supervision. But he stressed that he’s not alone in picking up the slack.

“This is a huge lift for everybody; it’s certainly not just me,” he said. “So many other people are stepping up in so many different ways – teachers, paraprofessionals, other administrators.

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As tens of thousands of workers in education have left the field in recent months, Magas explained that the shortage in schools, which has been a concern for “many years,” was only compounded by the pandemic.

Magas expressed that the rate at which substitute teachers and paraprofessionals are joining the workforce has been “really challenging” and blamed the general worker shortage nationwide for driving competitive wages in other sectors.

“Sometimes it tempts people away from other jobs that we might have,” he said.

According to the superintendent, the school district has weighed the incentive of implementing signing and recruiting bonuses, as well as bumping pay for various positions. Magas said he’s put in heightened recruitment efforts by slating student teachers at universities and attending career fairs.

Since the coronavirus pandemic still poses a threat to staffing, Magas’ district has administered full-time substitute teaching opportunities – a floating sub who can hop from classroom to classroom, school to school. Magas said this rotational system has also been put in place for district office staff and administration.

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