Gilbert Public Schools waitlist kids for afterschool programs due to staffing shortage

School districts are seeing staffing shortages all over the country, and that includes Arizona.

Because of the shortages, afterschool programs have long waitlists as parents and students scramble to figure out what to do next.

"That was a hard week, a really hard week," said Jabon Hensen, a parent in the Gilbert Public Schools system. "It was a disaster of a week, really horrible."

His son is waitlisted for the afterschool program he's been attending for years.

"That left us from 2 p.m. to the next day to figure out what to do with him for afterschool care. His mom and I both work and picking him up immediately after school wasn't an option," he said.

Gilbert Public Schools has 25 job openings, which include, site and activity leaders, school bus drivers and nutrition service workers.

"We were having difficulty getting people to return for a while and it is all because of the pandemic," said Jacob Glider, Director of Community Education Services.

It's a similar situation at Kyrene School District where it says students who don’t have a safe place to be after school tend to get in trouble once classes are over.

The process for parents has been challenging, but luckily for Henson, he was able to place his son at a local Boys & Girls Club.

School districts know the demand is there for afterschool programs, but the issue comes from a lack of hiring. The districts say they are actively recruiting and hiring.

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