(The Center Square) – The Cedar Rapids Community School Board on Monday approved $750 bonuses from ESSER funding for full-time school staff.
The funding addresses employee shortages, which have impacted school districts across Iowa.
“Due to the number of open positions and substitute shortage across all positions in our school district, our current CRCSD staff members have had to take on more in order to serve students every day,” Bush said in a statement to TV9.
School districts have been responding to persistent shortages of substitute teachers.
For example, Urbandale Community School District announced earlier this month that it would increase daily teacher substitute pay from $135 to $165. After subbing 50 days in a school year, teachers receive a loyalty bonus that will increase the rate for the remainder of the year to $185.
The Iowa Department of Education’s listing of shortages was the following, as of 4:30 p.m. Dec. 21:
2021–2022 Iowa Teacher Shortage Areas
Endorsement Number Endorsement Title
Iowa school performance has declined in several districts during the pandemic based on the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress, the department has reported. From 2019 to 2021, the number of schools in the Exceptional category decreased by six and the number of schools in the Needs Improvement and Priority categories (the lowest categories) increased by seven and 21 schools, respectively.
The Iowa Department of Education reported last week that 2021 fall enrollment across school districts has increased nearly 1,500 since last year. Certified enrollment, which helps determine school funding, increased at 169 school districts (52), with Waukee taking the lead and Des Moines Public Schools experiencing the greatest decrease. Certified enrollment increased in school districts that included Ankeny, Pleasant Valley, Clear Creek Amana, Dallas Center-Grimes, Norwalk, Ames, Southeast Polk, Bondurant-Farrar, Iowa City and Cedar Falls. Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Mason City, Muscatine, Nevada, Creston, South Tama and Davenport had decreases.
Pre-K, kindergarten, and ninth grade had the largest increases. The number of English learner students also increased. About three-quarters of the increased enrollment of English learner students speak Spanish at home. Participation in local school district-supported home school, which is optional for home schooling families, decreased from 8,735 in fall 2020 to 7,707 in fall 2021.
Applications and guidance to open charter schools are now available, the Iowa Department of Education announced Tuesday. Feb. 1, 2022, is the deadline to apply to launch a charter school during the 2022-2023 school year. Beginning in 2023-2024, the application deadline will be the Nov. 1 of the preceding school year. For example, Nov. 1, 2022, would be the deadline for the 2023-2024 school year.