Miami Public Schools in dire need of substitute teachers and bus drivers

They have had some parents step up recently to volunteer to be a sub.
Miami Public Schoools

MIAMI, Okla. – Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the Miami Public School District was experiencing a shortage in substitute teachers.

“There’s always a shortage just to be frank with you with substitute teachers, and typically as a school year goes on that number increases, we usually start off with a decent size number. The challenge with schools this year is just don’t know what the pandemic is going to bring you know” said Superintendent, Jeremy Hogan.

They have had some parents step up recently to volunteer to be a sub.

“I’m not saying we have every everything covered because we just don’t know, but we’ve had an uptick due to some parents stepping up through survey results they’ve said hey they do on the sub”

However, the school year starts next week, and they are still in need of a dozen more.

“Without having somebody in the classroom with kids, you’d have to be forced to put those kids in other classrooms that basically double the size of the class or a teacher has to run them back and forth so you can’t provide adequate supervision, and you can’t properly social distance and provide an even safer learning environment because kids are more cramped there” added Hogan.

A lack of substitutes could also result in classes turning virtual.

“I think every school worried, to be honest with you. What is that going to look like if that teacher has to be out?” said Hogan.

Hogan added that “As of today, we have had 25 staff members that have had to quarantine due to a positive test or exposure. Fortunately, we currently only have one staff member that is still in the 14-day quarantine window.”

The district has also been experiencing a shortage in bus drivers, resulting in teachers, coaches and other staff filling in when needed.

“So we’ve got individuals we can fill in and plug but you know we have a shortage right now, the demographics of our bus drivers right now are elderly so they are in that higher risk category” said Hogan.

Longtime bus driver Lonnie Portenier says it has been hard.

“If we had substitute drivers it would make it easier for us to take activity trips instead of coaches being in the bus seat there and make it a little less pressure for us to be gone for family reasons, sickness or things like that”

But he says they push on and make it work.

“We show up every day and we do our job because we know there may not be anybody to replace us.”

The District is looking to fill two more open bus driver positions.