Help from Governor Gavin Newsom is here for school districts struggling to stay open during severe staffing shortages.
The governor signed an executive order that provides more flexibility to districts when hiring substitute teachers and rehiring retired teachers.
Kisha Borden, president of the San Diego Education Association, sent an email to NBC 7 that reads in part, “SDEA appreciates the Governor's attention to the severe staffing shortage that is impacting all our schools here in San Diego Unified. While the shortage has created challenges since schools started in the fall, the Omicron surge has magnified those challenges.”
Governor Newsom's executive order allows substitute teachers to have their assignments extended and reduces requirements for retired educators to return to the classroom as substitutes, without impacting their pensions.
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Poway Unified School District’s Chief of Communications officer Christine Paek said, “Anything that removes barriers to finding substitutes, and help in this really critical time of staffing shortages is a beneficial thing.”
Peak said the district can now tap into its pool of people who retired from Poway Unified. The state says closing schools should be a last resort when staffing is nearly impossible, according to Paek. At this point, she says Poway has made it work and is determined to keep schools open and safe for students.
Newsom's order is a short-term solution to a problem that has existed before the surge. It expires March 31.
SDUSD board trustee Richard Barrera said the district plans to take advantage of the opportunity offered in the Governor’s executive order.
Read Borden's entire email below:
"SDEA appreciates the Governor's attention to the severe staffing shortage that is impacting all our schools here in San Diego Unified. While the shortage has created challenges since schools started in the fall, the Omicron surge has magnified those challenges. Over the last few days there have been hundreds and even thousands of educators and students who are not in our schools due to COVID infections. The Governor's plan reduces requirements for retired educators to return to the classroom as substitutes without impacting their pensions. We know of many educators that retired December 2020 and June 2021 who are willing and able to return to schools to lend a hand in this emergency situation. The Governor's plan also temporarily loosens the requirements that Districts must follow when hiring individuals to substitute. While we still want to make sure those hired are vetted, we welcome the additional substitutes that will be hired to cover the increasing number of classroom vacancies. SDEA calls on SDUSD to take advantage of the Governor's executive order and continue to streamline its hiring process so that we can ensure the safety of our students on SDUSD campuses."