Drop in students hits the St. Joseph School District bottom line

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By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

A drop in students has led to a drop in revenue for the St.
Joseph School District.

There are 217 fewer students enrolled in St. Joseph schools
this year than last, which means about a million dollars less in state funding.

St. Joseph School Superintendent Doug Van Zyl says it’s not a
huge loss in a $135 million annual budget.

“It’s serious, because you don’t want to continue to lose
money, but I don’t think it’s a dire situation and we’re trying to be proactive
in dealing with it,” Van Zyl tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline.

St. Joseph will also use an outside company to help it fill a
shortage of substitute teachers. Van Zyl says the district typically needs
50-to-80 subs daily and with the coronavirus making some subs leery of being in
the classroom, the district has fallen as many as 30 subs short some days.

“It just didn’t happen overnight and it’s just not happening
here in St. Joe, it’s happening all over that finding substitutes, finding
teachers in general, is harder and harder to do. There just aren’t as many
people going into teaching either,” according to Van Zyl. “So, it’s the whole
spectrum of education that’s being impacted in finding quality folks to fill
positions.”

Van Zyl says the district at one time had as many as 350
substitute teachers it could call on. That has dwindled to about 150 and, of
those, not all are available every day.