Educational attainment: Licking County schools weigh in after pandemic – The Newark Advocate | Team Cansler

NEWARK — On the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, many challenges remain for Licking County schools.

At a State of the Education forum Wednesday at C-TEC, presented by the United Way of Licking County’s Community Partners Council, administrators from public and private institutions discussed what lies ahead, how they’ve dealt with it, and what the future holds brings.

One of the biggest challenges remains staffing.

“It’s hard to find people who want to work and stay at work, so we have to provide incentives,” Newark Superintendent David Lewis said. “Eighty percent of our costs are salaries and benefits, but we’ve been able to find good candidates,” Licking Valley Superintendent Scott Beery said.

“Can we act fast enough to meet wage demands or get people to come back?” asked Treasurer Kim Pulley of Johnstown-Monroe, which faces explosive growth with the coming of Intel. “We have to get young people excited about teaching and education. They are our next generation,” said Lakewood Superintendent Dr. Mark Gleichauf.

Southwest Licking Superintendent Dr. Kasey Perkins said growth is the biggest challenge for her district.

“We currently have 4,800 students and have grown by 500 in the last 10 years,” she said. “We’re projected to grow by 2,000 over the next 10 years. We have new facilities that are almost full already.”

COVID aftermath

Schools are still grappling with the aftermath of the pandemic.

“Student behavior has been influenced because our younger students started their education at home. They’re just learning to play at school,” Lewis said. “The social emotional aspect,” said C-TEC Superintendent Dr. Joyce Malainy. “Some had to be hospitalized, more than we’ve ever seen.”

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