As K-12s struggle with staffing, CMC going strong
The numbers are similar but the impacts are different for Roaring Fork School District and Colorado Mountain College as the former battles unprecedented staffing shortages.
The college says it has 69 part- and full-time openings across its 11 campuses. Roaring Fork, as currently listed on Applitrack.com, lists 70 position openings across its 13 schools and offices.
The district is seeking additional taxpayer funds through a mill levy override and taking other measures to fill its vacancies. CMC, on the other hand, doesn’t feel their current shortages are as dire.
“From a direct comparison standpoint, it is true, we are nowhere near where our K-12 communities are concerning critical shortages,” CMC Chief of Staff Matt Gianneschi said. “We’re probably in a better position to begin with.”
CMC is currently fully rostered for full-time faculty. It has 25 openings for full-time staff, 14 of which are in the administration and professional sector. Of its 44 part-time openings, 39 are support staff roles, positions like front desk, assistants, tutors and technicians.
Higher education has more avenues to address shortcomings, Gianneschi said. They can do things like source the student body for support roles in the form of work study, though he noted that is more common at other universities due to the high number of students working full-time jobs outside the school.
Gianneschi added that the way colleges operate gives them more flexibility than K-12 institutions. They can move a class online or change its size, location or time, even to after hours. They can source adjunct professors and adjust to their schedule, rather than having the traditional, rigid in-school structure, limited by a morning start time and having to conclude before the evening. Instruction also isn’t reliant on services like school buses.
The school also uses data from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources to weigh national averages for employee salaries and adjusts wages above inflation. Gianneschi said the starting wage for an associate professor is between $70,000 and $80,000. The average salary for a teacher in the Roaring Fork School District ranges in the mid $50,000s, regardless of tenure.
“I was just impressed that CMC does the comparison,” Norma Guzman Duran, CMC’s new dean of the school of business, said. “It shows that the institution is cognizant of the socio-economics of the city and the college in comparison to other high cost of living areas.”
Guzman Duran relocated from Texas and said she had not heard of the College and University Association database before she joined CMC.
For Roaring Fork employees, housing remains the most prevalent issue. Disproportionate rent and home price increases with comparatively stagnant wages have resulted in not only teachers but every department within the district to suffer shortages, from the classroom to school buses, cafeterias, maintenance and upkeep.
In the Sept. 8 Roaring Fork School District Board of Education meeting, the district reported that it had filled all of its vacancies in food nutrition services and was making headway in custodial and transportation areas.
“I think we’re making steady progress,” Roaring Fork School District Chief of Human Resources Angie Davlyn said in the meeting.
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