DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Students are preparing to head back to the classroom, but school districts across the Miami Valley are not exempt from the nationwide staffing shortage.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. lost close to 600,000 educators since January 2020. In our area, districts are feeling that strain.

Bob Hill is the Superintendent of Springfield City Schools.

“We in Springfield will have about 100 new team members joining us here in the fall. It’s been a challenge, but our H.R. department has been working extremely, extremely hard to fill all of those positions,” Hill said.

One of the biggest needs in schools in the Miami Valley is substitutes. Devon Berry, director of human resources for West Carrollton City Schools, said there are just not enough people applying.

“As jobs have increased, our pools for substitute teachers have decreased tremendously. We normally range between 80 and 120. I would say for our district last year we had about 38 substitutes for the entire year,” Berry explained.

To help fill the substitute needs, the state legislature extended the relaxed requirements for subs until the 2023-2024 school year. This means applicants will not need a bachelor’s degree to apply for a short-term license.

Some districts also increased their substitute pay to attract more people, including Springfield.

“We are increasing our rates of pay for substitute teachers $120 a day, and then all other classifieds substitute positions begin at $13 an hour. So really trying to address the deficiencies in the market to make Springfield a better place to work and some place that entices employees,” Hill said.

Springboro Schools District Communications Director Scott Marshall said his district is also facing challenges hiring food service workers.

“We’re in desperate need of a head cook as well as an assistant cook. And those are just spots that we found that have really been impacted over the last year or two. And that is a continual need,” Marshall said.

While these districts are still prepared for a great school year, they are continuing to look for ways to get more people to join their teams.

“When we are not able to fill positions like that, ultimately the kids suffer. And so really, it’s now incumbent on us as a community, really as a state, as a nation, to find ways to attract professionals to the teaching profession because it is a great profession,” Hill said.

To learn more about open positions in Springboro, click here. To learn more about open positions in Springfield, click here. To learn more about open positions in West Carrollton, click here.

To learn more about substitute teacher requirements in the state of Ohio, click here.