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Bozeman School District brainstorms ways to help staffing shortage

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Posted at 4:48 PM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 18:48:03-04

BOZEMAN — Business after business, even organizations are all facing the same problem: trying to find workers, but now some of them are trying to find solutions.

“That's exactly what we’re doing," said Bozeman School District Director of Business Services. "We’re trying to come up with a solution that doesn’t have a negative impact on our taxpayers, trying to find a way to structure to best recruit and retain employees and provide the services that the district is expected to provide in the community.”

Which led the district to think about new ideas to attract new employees.

“We’re not going to require anyone to do anything," said Waterman. "What we’re trying to do is provide options for employees to pick a structure that works best for them.”

During the last school board meeting, Waterman presented two ideas that focused around employees choosing how or if they want to contribute to their retirement, but the proposals were quickly met with concerns.

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Business after business, even organizations are all facing the same problem: trying to find workers, but now some of them are trying to find solutions.

“It just makes me think about the retirement system, so I just have questions," said BSD School Board Trustee Lei-Anna Bertelsen. "I’m not saying… I just feel hesitant about what that all means in the bigger picture of things.”

The retirement contribution idea sparked concern, but the district says it was simply a proposal to a problem.

“What we’re trying to do is take a critical look at our recruitment, retention issue," said Waterman. "I think folks know, like every business in town, we’re having a challenge recruiting and retaining qualified staff, so what we’re doing is taking a look at every option we’ve got available to help address that.”

The retirement idea proposed employees could either contribute less to their retirement or not contribute at all both increasing the take-home-pay.

“As we drive down Main Street or 7th Avenue, there’s hiring signs everywhere, and we know what the competition is for our employees and we know what other folks are paying, and we’re trying to find a way that we can get there without increasing the burden on taxpayers,” said Waterman.

At this point, the district is simply brainstorming ideas and nothing is set in stone. Waterman said the process would take at least until 2023.

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Concerns over staffing challenges discussed at Bozeman School Board meeting

Bozeman School District brainstorms ways to help staffing shortage