More experienced applicants seeking school district jobs

While school districts across the state brace for layoffs, School District 51 is hiring for more than 230 positions for the 2010-11 school year.

District 51 eliminated the equivalent of 46 full-time positions for the 2010-11 school year through attrition. But the district is still hiring about as many people as last year, district spokesman Jeff Kirtland said, because the district will hire replacements for more retirees than usual, partly because of offering an early retirement incentive. Other positions will be filled because of regular annual turnover.

As of Monday, the district had approximately 234 positions left to fill. About three-fourths of those spots are for teachers.

As is always the case, District 51 Certified Applicant Specialist Cindy Starr said, elementary teaching positions are the most popular. Elementary teaching jobs accounted for the 16 most applied-for open positions, with a high school and an elementary school teaching position tying for the 17th spot.

One-third of the job openings listed had 20 or more applicants. A teaching position at Wingate Elementary had the most applicants of any open position in the district, 110, as of Monday.

Other districts’ misfortunes have been the district’s gain when it comes to the quality and quantity of applicants, Starr said.

“I would say we have more experienced people coming in, because some districts are eliminating positions,” she said. “A lot are newbies, but a lot are coming in with three, four, five years experience.”

Some positions, including those for math teachers and assistant principals, have had more applicants than usual, Starr said. Specialized positions, such as speech pathology and special-needs instructors, have fewer applicants, she said. Because fewer people go into the field, Starr said, it’s also hard to find family and consumer-studies teachers. The district had four applicants for three family and consumer-studies posts, she said.

When it comes time to bring people in for an interview, Kirtland said, applicants for hard-to-fill positions have travel expenses paid for by federal grant money.


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