DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Hundreds of students in Durham Public Schools are on the waitlist to get into an after-school program, as the district is facing a shortage of staff members for all programs.
According to district officials, there are 686 students on the waitlist for the year-round and traditional after-school programs.
The district said they need to hire 46 more staff members to meet the demand.
DPS officials said the starting pay for staff members who work in after-school programs is $16 per hour with no experience needed.
The district is focusing its efforts on recruiting more staff for these programs, as it is offering $2,000 in recruitment bonuses.
In addition, DPS is also exploring partnerships with Durham County school-age care providers.
But in the meantime, some parents are scrambling to find a place to take their child after school, especially those with children who have already started year-round classes. Some have decided to take their children to the YMCA or a Durham Parks and Recreation program.
Tiffany Frye is a full-time working mom with a son who is about to start kindergarten at Club Boulevard Elementary.
Since both she and her husband work, she said they needed to get her son into an after-school program.
“With school ending at 2:15 p.m., and my workday not ending until 5 p.m. at least, it’s necessary,” Frye said.
The day registration opened, she ensured she was at the computer as much as possible, as she knew space was limited.
“I was refreshing the website as I was getting my son ready for pre-school and getting my daughter out the door,” Frye said.
While she was able to secure her son a spot in the after-school program, she said she’s still concerned for the hundreds of other families who are still waiting.
“These are young children, who are five, six and seven years old,” Frye said. “They can’t go home unsupervised.”
DPS will be having two town hall meetings where they will update parents on their hiring efforts and the status of the after-school programs.
Both town hall meetings will be on Monday, July 25th at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Minnie Forte-Brown Staff Development Center at 2107 Hillandale Road.