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As the school year starts, Kansas City superintendents say they're still short-staffed

Some Johnson County school districts are putting additional security measures in place when schools return this month.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
School districts around the Kansas City area say they're still understaffed.

A new school year brings new challenges to Kansas City-area districts. Ongoing problems, like staffing shortages and school safety, continue to weigh on administration while heat waves make learning hazardous.

Kansas City Public Schools were forced to cut school days short last week due to dramatically high temperatures in school buildings that lack central air. KCPS superintendent Dr. Jennifer Collier told KCUR's Up To Date that they made the right call to keep students safe.

Meanwhile, Independence School Districts became the largest district in Missouri to move to a four-day school week and saw a 500% jump in job applications. Despite the surge in applicants, though, the district still faces a shortage of bus drivers.

Both KCPS and Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools find themselves struggling to keep positions filled amid an ongoing nationwide teacher shortage.

"I think overall we have to continue to look at, how do we elevate the field of education? How do we make it something that folks want to be a part of, so that we have more people in our classrooms?" Collier said.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As a producer for Up To Date, my goal is to inform our audience by curating interesting and important conversations with reliable sources and individuals directly affected by a topic or issue. I strive for our program to be a place that hosts impactful conversations, providing our audience with greater knowledge, intrigue, compassion and entertainment. Contact me at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz.
Trevor Grandin is a contributing producer for KCUR Studios.
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