As we face the many challenges of opening West Virginia schools under pandemic conditions, we must not lose sight of underlying problems arising from other causes. High among those problems is the matter of keeping schools adequately staffed with competent professionals and service personnel.
The demographics are alarming.
With West Virginia’s aging population, it is no surprise that our school personnel are also maturing. According to information from the state Department of Education and the Consolidated Public Retirement Board, more than 2,400 teachers, 2,700 service personnel and 166 administrators are eligible to retire by Aug. 31. These figures, representing 12% of teachers, 22% of service personnel and 22% of administrators, do not include more than 400 individuals who recently filed for retirement. Add employees who will become eligible to retire during the upcoming school year, and the numbers swell by an additional 300 teachers, nearly 340 service personnel and a dozen administrators.