INSIDERS: Marshalltown schools dealing with unprecedented staff shortage

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Marshalltown High School (WHO 13)

Part 1: Marshalltown schools dealing with unprecedented staff shortage

Sickness and staff shortages are straining schools in Iowa.

Des Moines Public Schools is paying teachers an extra $30 if they cover another class with a teacher out and there’s no substitute teacher available. The Waukee school district warned parents that bus routes may change because of the continued shortage of drivers.

Centerville students won’t go to class this coming week as administrators deal with COVID-19 spread in Appanoose County. Saydel High School in Polk County and Central City Community Schools near Cedar Rapids have each recently closed a day due to staff shortages.

This is the second straight strained school year for Iowa communities because of COVID-19 concerns, and this year it’s impacted staffing levels, too. Roughly 575,000 people have left education since last year nationwide, according to the latest federal jobs report.

Marshalltown has about 28,000 residents, and the stress on its school system has grown since the pandemic struck. More than three months into the school year, the Marshalltown Community School District still has numerous positions unfilled.

Part 2: $10,000 signing bonuses and more await Iowa workers

The Iowa Workforce Development website lists 84,503 current job openings across the state and 66,100 unemployed residents. Signing bonuses, increased wages, work from home options and more flexible work schedules are all among the options Iowa employers are using to recruit workers.

Part 3: Terry Branstad named ambassador-in-residence at Drake University

Terry Branstad, the former U.S. Ambassador to China and longtime Iowa governor, has a new role. He has been named ambassador-in-residence at Drake University.

As part of the role, Branstad will meet weekly with Drake students, clubs, and faculty, and he will lead lectures in a variety of classes each semester. Branstad will also host an annual symposium on U.S. relations with China, which will bring high ranking government officials and thought leaders to campus. The first symposium is anticipated to happen in the fall semester of 2022.

Insiders Quick 6

Dave Price has a roundup of this week’s Iowa political news in the Insiders Quick 6.

Watch previous episodes of The Insiders here.

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