27J faces dire staff shortages

September 24, 2021

Dear 27J Families, Staff and Community,

The new school year is well underway and we’re so glad we’ve returned to in-person classes. Our students tell us they’re really happy to be with their teachers in class, go to athletic events, school dances, and to just hang out with friends again. 

 

But we’re not back to normal when it comes to school and district operations. Like many other school districts, businesses and organizations, we’re facing very severe staffing shortages and supply chain breakdowns that seriously threaten our ability to fully return to a normal school year.

In Short:

Extreme staff shortages could force dramatic cut-backs to keep the district running.

 

More staff are needed for these positions:

  • Teachers
  • Substitute teachers
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Bus drivers
  • Cooks and lunchroom staff
  • Childcare staff

Without additional support, the district may have to:

  • Severely reduce or eliminate bussing for days or weeks.
  • Schools may have to return to remote learning for days or weeks each month.
  • Schools may have to suspend breakfast and lunch services.

Our ability to operate all schools and services is in jeopardy.

Teachers and School Staff:

  • Illness and COVID-19 protocols designed to protect our classrooms and schools have created an increase in student and staff absences. The lack of teachers and support staff has created a liability to our classrooms, our offices and ultimately to our support for students. Adding to these problems, 27J also has a significant shortage in substitutes for these roles. An absence at the school level most often requires coverage. Teachers lose their planning times, school administrators and counselors cover unfilled responsibilities, and often the workload is spread across those who remain. Every absence results in stretching staffing resources and alters the support available for students. 

Bus Drivers:

  • We’re woefully understaffed to fill our bus routes. We’ve resorted to using mechanics, office staff, trainers and administrators to drive busses. Even with these emergency modifications, we’ve cut bus routes simply because we don’t have enough staff.

Meals:

  • We’ve lost a lot of cooks and lunchroom staff. Some schools haven’t had enough staff to fully operate their kitchen. Also, there are severe breakdowns in the U.S. supply chain as there simply isn’t enough food being produced because of a lack of truck drivers, farm workers and workers in processing facilities. Our suppliers have run out of food and we’re scrambling to buy replacement food at warehouse stores and grocery stores.

Childcare:

  • Current services can’t expand to meet increased demand without more staff.

27J Schools is appealing to all parents, grandparents, retirees, neighbors and friends to seriously consider stepping into these roles. We will provide the necessary training. Some positions offer flexible schedules and can be arranged for parents to have time to take children to and from school while still working a shift. Several employee categories provide FREE healthcare, life and dental insurance coverage, plus they qualify for retirement benefits.

View openings and apply now for:

Situations like this are not rare now. But in 27J, it’s substantially more difficult because we’re funded about $2,000 less per student than virtually all other districts in the state. 

 

The entire 27J operating budget suffers from the same circumstances. The financial problems are compounded by continuous, rapid growth in our community and the numbers of students added every year. Overcrowded schools make the learning environment far less sufficient, safe  and effective. 

If we can’t get help from our community, we may have to:

  • Severely reduce or eliminate bussing for days or weeks.
  • Schools may have to return to remote learning for days or weeks each month.
  • Schools may have to suspend breakfast and lunch services.

To avoid this, we need our parents and community to share this information with their friends, family and neighbors. Talk about the severe nature of the problems with co-workers, other parents and people with whom you do business. Encourage people to apply at workat27J.com

 

The Brighton, Commerce City and Thornton communities have accomplished so much through their neighborhood schools. Now is the time we need to rely on each other to ensure our students’ schools have what they need to provide the kind of education services our children deserve and you expect.

 

Thank you for your consideration,

 

Dr. Chris Fiedler

Superintendent, 27J Schools