School districts across the Northeast Kingdom and North Country are facing unprecedented hiring challenges

School districts across the Northeast Kingdom and North Country are facing unprecedented hiring challenges. The reasons are many. Low starting pay, lack of housing, COVID burnout, and fewer teachers in the pipeline are just some of the factors.  “This has been the most challenging year to fill positions I can recall in my 31 years of experience,” said Supt. Laurie Melanson of SAU 23 (Bath, Benton, Haverhill Coop, Piermont, Warren). “It absolutely is unprecedented,” agreed Supt. Jen Botzojorns of the Kingdom East School District (Burke, Concord, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Newark, Sheffield, Sutton). “I’ve been in education 30 years and I’ve never seen so few applicants.” While the staffing crisis is not expected to dramatically impact education services this fall, some school districts are having to increase class sizes, hire more unlicensed staff, rely more heavily on virtual learning, and take other dramatic steps to make ends meet.