SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) – Staffing shortages are touching school district across Tampa Bay.

Just last week, officials with the Manatee County School District told 8 On Your Side about the daily challenges they face getting children to and from school in a timely manner with a limited number of school bus drivers on hand.

For Sarasota County Schools, one of their biggest challenges is a shortage of substitute teachers.

Pre-pandemic, the district’s Director of Human Resources Dr. Allison Foster explained needing 200 substitute teachers in a single day was on the high end of what the district would see. Now, it’s the norm.

“Since we have been back from the break, we have had the need for over 300 subs on most days,” Foster said. “The highest number we have had to date was 386 so just a significant increase in the number of subs.”

On that record-breaking day, Foster said the district was able to fill about 75% of the open classrooms with the 1000+ people in the district’s substitute teacher pool.

“We were continuing to have a fill rate close to 90% through the pandemic, but right now, this most recent wave, we have had a need for more subs than usual,” the HR director explained.

To address the recent need, the district is getting creative in its efforts to recruit, calling on parents to help.

“We have tried to share with parents you can sub just at your child’s school or at the schools that are close to where you live, you can work one day a week, you can work when it is convenient, you don’t have to do five days a week,” said Dr. Foster. “It really provides a great opportunity for a lot of our parents to get into the schools and also to help to make sure that we are filling those classrooms every day,” she continued.

The district sent the following message out to families across the county Monday.

Message from Sarasota County Schools

Anyone interested in a position can find more details by visiting this website.