The Calcasieu Parish School Board is facing numerous employment shortages with open positions across nearly every department.
“We pretty much have a shortage kind of across the board from clerks, maintenance, mechanics, cafeteria techs, custodians, bus drivers and aids and, of course, teachers,” Robert Barrentine, CPSB chief operating officer, said.
The shortages aren’t limited to the school board system, though. They’re reflective of the overall issues seen across the region, Barrentine said.
“When you drive around town, everyone has hiring signs from fast food to higher-end restaurants. I think it’s just a shortage everywhere.”
The district is working both internally and externally to recruit teachers. “With our Ed Rising course, we’re kind of trying to grow our own teachers and getting them exposed to what is it to be a teacher. Hopefully, we can cultivate that and maybe grow that within our parish and have our own little farm system as far as teachers go.”
The district is working externally by visiting virtual job fairs and setting up a new indeed.com account to post jobs. “The first thing we did with that was have a job posted where only two people had applied. We had eight or so within just a few minutes. So, we’re just covering all of our basis to keep recruiting.”
One of the biggest misconceptions with recruiting teachers, Barrentine said, was the false notion that you have to have an education degree to qualify for the job.
“They think all they can do is sub at a school but that’s not the case now. There’s so many other avenues, pathways, that you can use to become a teacher.”
CPSB’s personnel supervisors work with qualified candidates with a bachelor’s degree to get them placed in the right classroom and then the New Teacher Academy helps coach new teachers along the way, Barrentine said.
“They will work to get these people as ready as they can. They’ve been out in the real world, after all, and they bring a lot to the table.”
Bus driver shortages are also a major issue right now causing routes to be split at schools, which leads to longer rides and later drop-off times.
“They’re doing a heck of a job right now, but man, it would just be great if we could cut the time that kids spend on the bus. If we got eight to 10 new folks, it would drastically go down,” Barrentine said.
Bus drivers are required to work the morning and afternoon route, complete the training course and obtain a CDL to be eligible.
Many retired individuals find bus driving to be a valuable job as well as individuals who have a second job that fits in the window of time between routes, Barrentine said.
Requirements for cafeteria workers and custodians are similarly simple.
“If they pass the background check, a fit for duty test, because there is some lifting, if you can take care of those things you’re a good a candidate.”
Regardless of the job title, Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus said most are full-salaried positions, with full benefits, if desired, and come with a retirement plan.
“Really, the school system is a pretty good place as far as getting the job and staying employed,” he said.
For more information on open positions within CPSB visit, https://www.cpsb.org/jobs.
Written by Marlisa Harding