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Kentucky Schools Scramble to Fill Vacant Positions as Opening Day Nears

Owensboro Public Schools

As schools across Kentucky plan to welcome students back for in-person learning during the new academic year, many districts are scrambling to hire teachers and other staff.

One western Kentucky district has the added challenge of hiring for new positions created to address the impacts of COVID-19.

The human resources staff at Owensboro Public Schools is in high gear as they try to fill 20 vacant teacher positions, and 15 for instructional assistants as the Aug. 11 opening day rapidly approaches.

School district spokesperson Jared Revlett said hiring is in-progress for a variety of jobs across the district.

“So that’s classroom teachers, as well as custodians, food service, transportation, coaches, those types of things that we’re still trying to fill,” said Revlett. “We have actually been really on a hiring spree recently. I think we’ve pushed through about 180 positions since the end of school.”

In addition to previously existing positions, Owensboro Public Schools added new positions for 39 teachers and 15 instructional assistants. 

Those new positions have been created with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency funds, or ESSER funds. Those federal dollars are earmarked to address academic losses caused by COVID-19. The district collaborated with principals to determine what new positions would be most valuable for each school.   

The Messenger-Inquirer reports there are currently 76 open positions in neighboring Daviess County Public Schools. 

Copyright 2021 WKU Public Radio. To see more, visit WKU Public Radio.

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.