District-wide shortage of support staff leaves teachers and office staff cleaning schools

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Oftentimes people don't think about the support staff needed to keep schools up and running, but for Bay District Schools employees having to pick up the slack, it's something they can't get off their minds.

Bay District Schools is in need of people to fill support positions. (WJHG/WECP)

With a district-wide shortage of support staff, employees are having to trade in grading papers for sweeping floors.

Clint Whitfield, Principal of Breakfast Point Academy, said, "We've mopped, we've swept, we've cleaned, pick up trash every day after school to help out."

Schools like Breakfast Point Academy are in need of support staff to help keep the school running.

"Custodial, Para-Professional, Front Office Staff, Instructional Assistants," said Whitfield when listing off the staff they need.

Bay District Schools officials say they have more than 50 support positions that need to be filled at the moment. The lack of these types of employees is causing teachers and office staff to take on more than just their regular jobs.

Shirley Baker, Executive Director of Human Resources for Bay District Schools, said, "Teachers have a lot on them when it comes to planning and delivering instruction during the day, and now when you also have to worry about cleaning your classroom at night, it is an added stress."

District workers say everyone is doing their part to keep the schools clean.

"Teachers have been helping, because generally we have custodial staff at night that help clean their rooms, so they've been very understanding, and we just have all come together because it's something that sitting around is not going to fill the jobs," said Whitfield.

Because of the rise in vacancies, the district has had to remove some of the requirements that would usually be in place for these jobs.

"You don't have to have a bachelor's degree for any of these support vacancies, and for the maintenance positions, you don't even have to have a high school diploma," said Baker.

To apply for a job, head to the Bay District Schools website and fill out an application. If you don't have access to a computer or internet, you can go to the district building located at 1311 Balboa Avenue in Panama City and they will help you fill out an application there.

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