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Murray schools deal with staff shortages as new school year begins

Posted at 5:25 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 19:25:07-04

MURRAY, Utah — Many students in the Murray City School District returned to class on Monday for the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

As they kick off a new year, officials with the district say they are dealing with some staffing shortages.

District spokesman Doug Perry said while they were able to fill all of their 350 teaching positions, they haven't been able to do the same when it comes to their paraprofessionals or support staff.

"We have about probably 30 positions that are unfilled right now amongst the paraprofessional staffing category," said Perry.

He said they have close to 500 paraprofessionals spread across their 10 schools in the district.

However, he says, being down this many people is unprecedented.

"We know that there's a labor shortage going on across the country and so this is something that everybody is dealing with, but we weren't fully expecting this, quite this many positions in particular of our support positions to be unfilled," said Perry.

The shortage means they have fewer people working lunchroom workers, teaching assistants and lab aides.

It's something he says will have an impact.

"It just means that teachers have to carry an extra load. That means that they're having to do some of the things that those paraprofessionals typically would handle for them," Perry said. "You know, making copies or running small errands or getting supplies ready for the students."

Patricia Glass has a second grader at McMillan Elementary School in Murray.

She says her son's classroom has 27 students and one teacher, with no full-time or part-time aide provided.

"It's 27 little people that need your attention at all times. If somebody has a meltdown or concern, then who's watching or attending to the other children?" said Glass.

FOX 13 News asked if she's worried about how this could impact her child's experience in the classroom.

"I wonder if he is going to get the time and attention that he needs if he is struggling in a certain area," said Glass.

She said she contacted her son's teacher last week and offered to help if needed.

As for the district, Perry said they are still working to fill the open positions. He said a bulk of the positions open are for teaching assistants and lab aides.

Those open positions pay $16-19 per hour. Anyone interested in applying can do so on the district's website.