By Jeff Todd

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – School districts across Colorado, like many businesses, are trying new tactics to hire employees before the start of the school year in a few weeks. The Adams 12 Five Star Schools district this week even emailed parents to discuss staffing shortages for before and after-school care with the hope of driving more recruitment. They’re raising pay, too.

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“It’s a really competitive time right now. There are job openings just about anywhere you look. School districts are no exception to that,” said Myla Shepherd the Chief Human Resources Officer at Adams 12 Five Star Schools.

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The district is facing a shortage of about 215 positions in jobs like bus driving, paraeducators and nutritional services employees. The before and after-school program, known as BASE, is down more than 100 employees since before the pandemic.

“We are just operating at an abbreviated enrollment number right now,” said Care Lachermeir the Adams 12 BASE Operations Manager.

A total of 2,000 students have expressed interest in getting care either before or after the school day.

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“We are enrolled up to the capacity that we can serve with the staffing we currently have. Most of our BASE programs at our schools have a waitlist right now. Our goal is to just work hard to serve as many students as possible. Our efforts are great at trying to recruit staff,” said Lachermeier.

The district has worked with a union to raise wages to hire and retain more workers. Starting pay used to be minimum wage, but if ratified, could now be $15.

“That’s a big step forward for us and we think it will improve our competitiveness. We’re really excited about the potential to retain employees who were maybe on the fence thinking there was something more attractive in this competitive market,” Shepherd said.

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There is concern that services in the district could be impacted if enough personnel aren’t hired. An issue that many other districts could face.

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“This is work that matters,” said Shepherd, “We need everybody to come together to help support that.”

Jeff Todd