With two weeks until classes start, Spokane Public Schools has dozens of job openings – some that pay more than $40,000 a year and don’t require more than a high school diploma.
As of Tuesday, the district had 57 openings posted on its web site. Only a few are teaching positions that require a college degree; the rest are classified positions ranging from custodian to nutrition service worker.
The district also needs people to work in the Express program, which serves students before and after class at elementary schools.
Depending on the worker’s experience, most of the positions pay slightly above minimum wage. However, openings for custodians and gardeners pay well above that, and also offer benefits.
Custodial workers are in demand, with seven openings as of Tuesday. Two of those were for head custodians, but five were for entry-level custodial assistants, with a starting of salary of $36,900 annually and full medical benefits through the state School Employee Benefits board.
After three years, pay rises to $41,985 per year.
Requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent, ability to read, write and comprehend operational instructions and the ability to lift 50 pounds and perform various types of labor during an eight-hour shift.
In addition, the job may require “possible exposure to elevated noise levels and potentially dangerous conditions,” according to the district.
For those seeking a less-strenuous job, SPS has several openings for support secretaries, with pay starting at $17.52 per hour. The district requires a high school diploma or equivalent, but applicants must have at least two years’ secretarial or clerical experience – preferably in a school setting.
Nutrition workers are also in demand, with full-time positions paying $16.41 an hour.
Of the openings listed Tuesday, six were for teachers and other specialists.
That runs contrary to the trend of teacher shortages elsewhere.
“We’re feeling really good about that,” said Jodi Harmon, the district’s chief of human resources. “We are getting interest from a lot of people, especially teachers. We’re even getting interest from the coast and from other states, because Spokane is a great place to be.”
But as it did last year, the district needs more people in its substitute teacher pool. Ideally, Harman said, it would like a pool of at least 500 subs, but currently the number is about 200.
Substitutes will earn $150 per day this year, down from the temporary $200 salary offered last year.
All district employees are required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19, or obtain a religious or medical exemption.
Meanwhile, the district is hoping for better service from its transportation provider, Durham School Services
Thanks partly to an aggressive hiring campaign, Durham currently has 97 regular drivers, nine more designated substitutes and 10 more in training.
Another 24 prospective drivers – perhaps attracted by a $20-per-hour starting wage – are going through the application process.
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