FARMINGTON — “It is a little bit of a challenge filling support staff positions in our district schools,” said Tina Meserve, Regional School Unit 9 superintendent. “These are good paying positions with benefits. They do not require a college diploma.”

There are more than a dozen ed tech positions open, as well as custodial and bus driver positions.

Ed tech II positions require two years of college in any subject. “These support staff work under the direct supervision of a teacher,” Meserve said.

Ed tech III positions require three years of college. “College experience does not have to be in education,” she added. “An ed tech III can do some planning work and work without the direct supervision of a teacher.”

There are limited Ed Tech I positions, which do not require any college credits. “An ed tech I is more of an aide,” she said.

“Support staff are eligible for the same benefits teachers are,” Meserve said. “Benefits include health insurance, sick time, personal days, and holiday pay. Tuition assistance, up to 9 college credits per year, is also available”

An ed tech I is not eligible for Maine State Retirement, but other ed tech positions are, she said.

“Right now we are using long-term substitutes to fill the positions,” she added.

Another challenge is custodians and bus drivers. “We hire custodians to be bus drivers so they can get a 40 hour week and be eligible for benefits,” she added. “We provide bus driver training and pay them while they are in training. Some applicants do not have the skill set or the willingness to do both positions, so it is a task to fill those positions.”

“Right now we have no spare driver,” she said. “If someone is sick or out, it is a challenge.”

In neighboring Maine School Administrative District 58, staffing is not such an issue, said Superintendent Susan Pratt. “We have only one Ed Tech III position open at this time for the Day Treatment Program in Strong,” she said. “We do have issues getting substitutes and that list could be much longer.”

MSAD 58 includes elementary schools in Kingfield, Phillips, and Strong, and Mt. Abram High School in Salem.

“I have not heard that filling substitute positions is part of the challenge in RSU 9,” said Meserve.

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