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Sioux City Schools superintendent substitute teaches Thursday

By Dolly A. Butz

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    SIOUX CITY, IA (Sioux City Journal) — A spokeswoman for Sioux City Community Schools confirmed that Superintendent Paul Gausman substitute taught in the district on Thursday, due to a shortage of substitute teachers.

“I can only confirm that, this morning, he did sub in a band class at West Middle School,” said Leslie Heying, a spokeswoman for the district.

Last month, Gausman said the shortage of substitute teachers in the district had risen to a “crisis” level.

This school year, administrators have scrambled to find enough substitutes to fill 70 to 80 percent of teacher absences. During the pandemic last year, that rate dropped to as low as 50 percent.

In order to close the gap, the district had plans to partner with an outside employment firm that specializes in recruiting, hiring and training substitute teachers and para-educators. However, that bid to hire a national staffing firm to combat the shortage stalled in late November when the school board voted 4 to 3 to suspend negotiations with ESS for at least 90 days. ESS specializes in placing staff in various positions throughout K-12 districts.

“Like so many other districts in Iowa and nationwide, the Sioux City Community School District has a shortage of substitute teachers and instructional assistants which impacts our students and staff. The District will be bringing several recommendations related to the substitute shortage to the Board for consideration during their next board meeting. We look forward to a productive conversation with the Board to identify ways we can work together to attract and retain more substitute staff to the District,” the district said in a statement provided to The Journal on Thursday.

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