There are currently almost 1,900 unoccupied teaching and support staff positions in the Philadelphia School District.
Among the 1,869 vacant positions in the school district, 257 are teaching positions, and the rest are support positions such as school nurses, bus assistants, and climate staffers, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. In order to help solve the problem, the district has decided to send approximately 50 employees from administrative offices around the city to teach and provide support to schools that are struggling with the staffing issue.
“It’s almost impossible to operate buildings with that many vacancies,” Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, told the Inquirer.
The Philadelphia School District provides education to approximately 120,000 students across more than 200 schools, the Inquirer reported.
The district announced in late October that they would offer bonuses and increased compensation until April 2022 to staff members to help decrease the worker shortage.
The shortages have caused safety concerns across schools in the district, according to the Inquirer. Since the 2013-14 school year, the number of security officers across district schools has dropped from 400 to 272 due to a decrease in funding, the Inquirer reported.
Because of these recent shortages, some security officers have to perform jobs previously done by other support staff — such as front desk guest sign-ins, a security officer told the Inquirer.
"We're here to make the school a safe environment so kids can learn," Royce Merriweather, president of the school security officers' union told the Inquirer. "But we're understaffed."