Biden administration calls for beefing up school pay; Allentown alone has 300 job openings

Written by on September 7, 2022

Biden administration calls for beefing up school pay; Allentown alone has 300 job openings

By Sarah Mueller
September 7, 2022

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Members of the Biden administration are urging states and local school districts to increase pay for school staff amid a nationwide shortage of teacher and support personnel. 

Chris Lilienthal with the Pennsylvania State Education Association — the state’s largest teachers’ union — says staff vacancies are the most dire issue affecting schools. He says it’s affecting every school district in the state to some degree. 

Vacancies in the Lehigh Valley vary by district. The Allentown School District is facing the largest number of vacancies in the region, with about 300 current openings.

“It’s a bigger issue in some of our lower-funded school districts,” Lilienthal said. “They’re having a harder time recruiting the staff that they needTo some extent that’s related to compensation issues.”

The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to use COVID-19 funding appropriated by Congress last year for education to attract and retain teachers and other staff.

National wage data shows that teachers are paid less than college-educated professionals who are not teachers. Educators in Pennsylvania earn 15.2 percent less weekly than their non-teacher counterparts.

The Pen Argyl School District is seeking substitute teachers, custodians, nurses and aides. The Easton Area School District’s website shows 27 openings, including teachers, paraprofessionals and custodians. Bethlehem Area School District is hiring dining services workers, bus drivers and substitute teachers.

Other districts are also looking to recruit teachers, substitute teachers and support staff like food service workers. 


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