Riverview Gardens School District faces 180 job vacancies, aims to close gap through increased pay

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 10:18 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV) - The Riverview Gardens School District is looking to fill 180 job vacancies, including 90 teacher positions.

“Go back a month or so and that number was even higher, says District Spokesman Ishmael Sistrunk. “We have had a difficult time filling all of our positions. Right now, we have about 90 certified teacher vacancies and around the same number uncertified vacancies for support staff.”

The district is coming up with new recruitment and retention strategies to get fully staffed.

“We need highly qualified food service workers, highly qualified custodians to make sure we have clean buildings, highly qualified secretaries and clerical workers,” says Sistrunk.

Riverview Gardens is currently hiring retired teachers and substitutes and increasing their pay.

Current staff members are also getting an incentive to stay as everyone has been approved to receive at least an 8 percent raise.

The lack of teachers is forcing the district to introduce virtual learning during in-person classes.

“The students would be in their normal classroom, but they would have their devices, their chrome books and headphones,” says Sistrunk. “They would be piped into the classroom of another teacher on campus.”

With school starting Monday, nearly 40 classes in the district are without a permanent teacher.

“It can be frustrating but we have to keep going because we are here for the children,” says Gibson Elementary Principal Dr. Crystal Henderson.

“That 90 certified teacher vacancies is not 90 unfilled classrooms. We have about 39 classrooms at this time where we don’t have a designated instructor for.”

Federal pandemic money will help pay for incentives to attract new teachers and faculty. The district is giving out a $2,000 signing bonus for new hires in addition to hosting a weekly career fair until they are fully staffed.

“We’re not getting 50 or 100 people every time which is why we keep doing them,” says Sistrunk. “Our scholars, our students, their education is at stake.”

Those interested in applying can attend the Riverview Gardens Career Fair that happens every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at 1370 Northumberland Drive.