Classroom Prep

Mercer Elementary School teacher Stephanie Shrewsbury works on preparing her classroom in this 2017 file photo.

PRINCETON — Substitute school bus drivers, custodians, school cooks and other personnel are needed by Mercer County Schools to help fill gaps when regular school employees are not available.

Two school bus routes could not be run Monday because there was a lack of substitute bus operators, Mercer County Schools announced that morning. Another school bus could not run Oct. 2 for the same reason.

“We just have a general lack of substitutes for bus drivers, and they are getting ready to start a training class,” said Amy Harrison, data and information specialist for Mercer County Schools. “They have to be trained by the Mercer County Schools Transportation Department, and the training does take a lengthy amount of time. We just haven’t had that many apply to be substitutes.”

The school system has been seeking more substitutes for a variety of service positions in the schools.

“And recently on our Facebook page, we put out there that we are looking for substitute service personnel,” Harrison stated. “Not just bus drivers, but custodians, aides, secretaries and cooks; so anyone interested can come by the Central Office and pick up an application. And many times, these substitute positions can turn into full-time positions. That is a possibility.”

More school buses have been running so individual buses will not be filled with students.

“We had to shorten the school day, and we had to add some bus runs to keep those kids on the buses socially distant,” Harrison said.

Harrison said the service positions have been filled, so there are not enough people on the substitutes list.

“In the past, we had a lot of people waiting in the wings for the substitutes list, hoping to get on full time; and it’s not getting refilled,” she said.

There are openings for teachers, Harrison said.

“We, of course, have openings, but we have long-term substitutes in those positions and those can decrease the number of people who can sub from day to day,” she stated.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline. com

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