Alachua schools adapting to hiring in pandemic

With the annual spring job fair cancelled in April due to the pandemic, filling positions for Alachua County schools has been a challenge.
 
According to Kevin Purvis, assistant superintendent of human resources for the Alachua County School Board, there were 30 school district vacancies last week, but after putting a notice on the district office marquee advertising for applicants, seven of those positions were filled.
 

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According to the personnel report to the SBAC at the Oct. 21st regular meeting, there were 29 staff appointments made between Sept. 14th and Oct. 14th. and 10 faculty appointments made between Sept. 16th and Oct. 6th and 9 personnel were scheduled to go leave. 
 
Purvis presented the current status of hiring to the SBAC.
 
“When we’re going out recruiting throughout the state, we’re getting handfuls of applicants to come into our district that way,” Purvis told the board.
 
“We had a job fair last Thursday, spent zero dollars, put it out on the marquee and had 32 applicants walk in the door.”
 
“We offered seven district contracts that were very qualified,” Purvis said. “About half were people of color,” he said about the new hires.
 
Purvis said that after the spring job fair was cancelled, it was the principals in the school district that took finding qualified applicants to task.
 
“Our principals went out and saw what they would need and recruited,” he said.
 
SBAC Board Member Tina Certain asked, “If creating a diverse workforce is our key (objective) are we going to the places where those people are?
Purvis responded that, “We know the best bang for our buck is locally out of state recruitment – we weren’t drawing anyone.”
 
Purvis said the recent teacher pay raise didn’t change the situation. “We were hoping that the bump would help bring in beginning teachers, but everyone is getting that same bump,” he said.
 
Right now the district is trying to keep up with filling positions even though Purvis says the vacanies change every day. “We just had two people come in and resign today,” he said.
 
“In HR it’s a rolling (total) ,” he said about keeping track of staffing totals. “We had schools that were hired up, but things change.”

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