SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new partnership hopes to address the staffing shortage at Santa Fe schools. The City of Santa Fe area businesses, the teacher’s union and Santa Fe Public Schools are all teaming up to support education staff. The school board president says everyone is helping each other out where they can but the need in the district is immediate.

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“Everyone who can be is covering absences in classrooms. It seems impossible to get subs; retirements are up,” said Kate Noble, the president of the Santa Fe School Board.

The district says vacancies are on par with years past with 20 to 40 vacancies. However, more help is needed on the school grounds with quarantines and COVID-safe practices. The new program gives city employees four hours per month of paid leave to work at district schools.

In addition to supporting education staff, partners say the program will help the community outside the school walls too. “I think it’s going bridge the gap between the schools, the city and the community and bring us all together and bring us all as one,” said Hilario Larry Chavez, superintendent at Santa Fe Public Schools.

City staff can help with a number of jobs like lunchtime, pick up duty, library support and even tutoring grade-schoolers. The Chamber of Commerce is also joining in. businesses can register to have their employees participate in the program. The change is also launching a site where people can donate money to the district. The program starts Tuesday and has no set end date.