Sprint to the finish: District scrambles to hire personnel before school begins Monday

Although many positions have been filled, the Churchill County School District still has a need for school bus drivers.

Although many positions have been filled, the Churchill County School District still has a need for school bus drivers.

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With the opening of Churchill County schools just days away, the school district has scrambled during the past two weeks to cover most vacancies for both teachers and support staff.

Opening day for the school district’s primary and secondary schools is Monday. Both new and returning licensed staff reported to their respective schools earlier this week, but Churchill County, has faced the same dilemma as other school districts across the state to fill the openings.

Summer Stephens, who begins her fifth year as superintendent, gave an update on staffing needs at Wednesday’s school board meeting and assured trustees the school district will be ready on opening day.
“We had some late resignations, so we will be using some approved Critical Needs staff and also will have some intern teachers (student teachers who work with a mentor but have their own rooms), long-term substitutes and some new Business and Industry (B&I) and Alternate Route to Licensure (ARL) staff coming on board,” she said in emails with the Lahontan Valley News.

Trustees took action on filling more than 20 openings at their meeting. At the trustees’ July 20 meeting, the school district had a number of licensed openings in math, science and English and had late resignations in in construction/welding and the agricultural science courses.

“We have filled the position for Ag,” she said. “We have NDE (Nevada Department of Education) working with us for all new CTE (career and technical education) teachers. Our staff is working hard to ensure we have more than enough options for our students in all late resignation areas. We have interviews still occurring and new applications coming in daily.”

Approval from NDE has also been given to the rural counties for substitute teaching positions. A person who wants to substitute teach may apply for an emergency substitute teaching license minimum requirement high-school diploma.

Financial incentives were approved earlier this year to attract new teachers as well as school bus drivers to Churchill County. Through retirements and resignations, Stephens said school bus drivers are needed. On the current list for personnel action, the district is currently short seven drivers.

“As always, we welcome more bus drivers to apply or those who have an interest in becoming a driver,” Stephens said. “This year again we are offering up to $2,000 for returning and new drivers. Everyone has been working hard to fill their open positions including the Business Office, custodial (and) maintenance/grounds.”

In a quick look at other rural school districts in Northern Nevada, there is also a need for both licensed and classified staff. In neighboring Lyon County, 35 teachers are needed for all grades. According to its website, Lyon County also has 38 classified openings.

Humboldt County has five teacher openings which includes two at the elementary grades, and Pershing County lists multiple openings at the elementary school. Since July 1, Elko County has posted job announcements for more than 40 classified positions and seven certified, most of those at the elementary level.

The school district also released the following information:
School times
Student drop-off: Northside Early Learning Center, Lahontan Elementary School, Churchill County Middle School and Churchill County High School: 7:50 a.m.; E.C. Best, 7:45 a.m.; Numa, 7:55 a.m.
Student start times: NELC, 8 a.m.; Lahontan, 8:15 a.m.; E.C. Best, 7:55 a.m.; Numa, 8:05 a.m.; CCMS and CCHS, 8:20 a.m.
Student end times: NELC, 2:15 p.m.; Lahontan (kindergarten), 2:30 p.m., first grade, 2:40 p.m.; E.C. Best, 2:25 p.m.; Numa, 2:35 p.m.; CCMS, 3:15 p.m.; and CCHS, 3:05 p.m.
Friday early out days: There will be no school for Northside and LES kindergarten. LES first grade is at 1:10 p.m. Other schools are E.C. Best, 12:50 p.m.; Numa, 1 p.m.; CCMS, 1:30 p.m.; and CCHS, 1:20 p.m.

Meet the teachers
The week of Aug. 15-19 will be used for individual Pre-K and kindergarten students to meet their teachers and participate in screenings at the school. The school and/or teacher will be contacting each family directly to set up a time.

K-12 Transportation Application – A waiting list is in effect.

Due to the significantly large numbers of applicants this year, all bus riders must plan alternate modes of transportation until they have been contacted directly by a bus driver. If you have not heard from a driver by the end of the day on Aug. 10, assume you do not currently have district-provided busing. This is due to a severe driver shortage across the country and an overwhelming request of over 700 more students than last year.

Any Churchill County School District family intending to use district transportation must fill out an application and will be placed on the wait list. You will be required to transport your children to school until transportation has contacted you once space is available. Contact the school district for the form.

The district is working to be able to follow fully Regulation 5144. This decision has required that absolutely no high school riders who reside in city limits will be allowed to ride district-provided buses to/from school unless assigned as part of an IEP.

The school district is asking all families to work together and help each other transport as many students to/from school as possible to reduce the number of riders we are currently experiencing.

If you have any questions regarding transportation, contact the transportation department at 775-423-7135.


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