No major decisions were made at last night’s East Penn School Board meeting. The most important part of the meeting happened at the very beginning, when the presidents of three of the districts local unions– the teachers, aides/nurses/assistants, and food crafters– presented a letter to the board expressing concern about the large number of staff vacancies, particularly in nursing, food service, and long-term substitute teacher positions. They said that almost two thirds of their combined members have signed the letter in the just the last several days.
There is no question that the district is facing serious staffing challenges this year, and so I share their concern. I’ve asked the district to move aggressively and creatively to fill these gaps, and I know the administration is looking at new ways to address the problem. At the same time, it is worth remembering that the situation is not unique to our district. Other districts in the Lehigh Valley face similar staffing shortages amid a tight labor market nationwide, particularly for part-time hourly employees (which includes instructional aides and health room nurses).