Topeka Public Schools is staffed and ready to open

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:48 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Dr. Beryl New with Topeka Public Schools says they’ll have plenty of staff when students arrive Wednesday.

“We were experiencing the same challenges that many other school districts are,” said New. “Finding qualified staff at that point in the year. However, we had a job fair, actually two of them, and that brought in a lot of good candidates and even as today I’ve been reaching out to people. We are very optimistic that we’re going to be in good shape.”

Not only is United School District 501 filling the ranks, but front-line workers such as teachers will have an opportunity to get a bonus up to $8,000 based on their attendance while other staff can receive up to $6,000.

“Everybody across the board,” said New. “We want our staff to know how much we appreciate them. Many of them stuck with us through those two very difficult years of Covid-19 and they’re returning and we are able to give that bonus this year, so we are excited.”

The extra cash comes from the state board of education’s recent approval of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief money meant to assist with hardships felt from the Covid-19 pandemic.

USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden also was approved for a premium pay plan that will offer hourly workers an extra dollar an hour over the next two school years paid out each semester while other staff, including teachers and administrators, will get an extra $1,000 a year.

With classes beginning this week, Dr. New says they are proud of their staff and are ready to get things started.

“We’ve been able to offer a salary that is competitive and individuals who could have made other choices have chosen to come to us. We are down to about a handful of vacancies for certified teaching staff, so we are excited that every single student will have a highly qualified or well qualified adult standing in front of them on their first day of school.”

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