County Hosting Rare Fall Job Fair to Fill Substitute Teacher, School Staff Shortages

Hundreds of jobs are up for grabs in the 42 districts and 120 plus Charter schools in San Diego County

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San Diego County school districts are facing one of the worst, if not the worst, shortage of substitute teachers and support staff since the pandemic began.

The County Office of Education’s answer is a giant job fair this Saturday.

By most accounts, this deep in the school year, there is usually only a handful of job openings in school districts. This fall, more than 1,000 jobs remain open.

“We’re at a critical point.” Dr. Sheiveh Jones said.

Jones is the Executive Director of Teacher Effectiveness and Preparation for the County Office of Education. She oversees the recruitment and credentialing of teachers and staff, and says current staffing levels are not ideal.

“Students are being moved into other classrooms, or possibly administrators and non-teaching staff are coming in to cover those classes,“ Jones said.

COVID-19 cases and the fear of spreading the disease in the classroom are squarely to blame for staffing shortages, according to Jones.

“You’re having more teachers calling in sick due to not knowing and having to get tested or wait for results,” Dr. Jones said.

The County Office of Education job fair this Saturday is at the Liberty Station Conference Center.

It is a first for this time of year.

Twenty-nine school districts and charter schools will be represented. They are recruiting substitute teachers and non-teaching positions, like bus drivers, food service workers and instructional aides. The goal is to fill 600 positions.

Substitute teachers are now getting sometimes double their daily rate, up to $300 per day. There are health, retirement and education benefits, Jones said.

Despite the shortages, parents can expect the same level of commitment from their districts, according to Jones.

“We’re going to make sure students have everything that they need to be in that safe environment getting the instruction they really need," Dr. Jones said.

At one time there were enough credentialed teachers who couldn’t land jobs to backfill the substitute ranks. Dr. Jones says now, fewer people are following educator career paths and 30% of the county’s teachers are at the age of retirement.

Information about the job fair can be found here.

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