District officials: Staffing shortage at Williamson County Schools hitting ‘crisis points’

(Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)
(Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)

(Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)

As Williamson County Schools wraps up its first full week back in school, district officials are working to address some of the unforeseen issues that come with operating a school district in a pandemic.

In the Aug. 10 work session, district staff and the Williamson County Schools Board of Education discussed some of the challenges facing students and staff this year, one of the biggest of which is staffing. When asked about the district’s biggest need at the moment, Superintendent Jason Golden said more staff is needed across the board.

“It’s people—there’s really no substitute for people,” Golden said. “I will tell you with this pandemic, we feel understaffed in every single department to address a pandemic; we’re not staffed for that.”

District officials said classified positions, such as teaching assistants, are a critical need for the district, as are substitute teachers, which is a concern due to the possibility of teachers needing to quarantine throughout the year.

“I will tell you that, anecdotally, we have had some people say that, ‘You know what? It’s just not worth the money for this year,'” he said.

Golden said he will ask the district to allocate resources to help hire more staff during the board’s Aug. 17 regular board meeting.

“The truth is, we could use 100-150 more people and still feel like we need more,” Golden said. “The lift has been incredible; we’re hitting those crisis points where we’re asking for additional help.”

While the district is still hiring for some teaching positions, officials said the staffing rate for teachers is down only slightly compared to past years.

“We’ve actually lost about 87 teachers in the last six weeks, which is up from a normal amount, which is about 50, so we do see a little bit of an uptick on that,” said Vickie Hall, the assistant superintendent of human resources for WCS.

Hall said the district is currently working to keep existing substitute teachers engaged with the district and is actively trying to recruit more from the community.

Open positions for WCS can be found here.

The board will meet again Aug. 17, and residents can watch a livestream of the meeting via www.wcs.edu.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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