RALEIGH, N.C. — Personal space doesn’t exist in Sarah Bill’s household, where she's the mom to three young kids. It’s summertime, but the single mom can only imagine how busy things will be during the school year.

What You Need To Know

  • Whether due to the pandemic or what’s being called "the great resignation," staffing shortages are affecting school districts nationwide

  • In N.C., bus drivers, teachers and substitutes are among the many growing vacancies

  • According to the Durham Public School District, there are about 700 parents in need of after-school care for their kids

Her kids are not enrolled in after-school care and not by choice.

“I was so ready to be in that program that I made sure I applied the first day that the application was available. And then I thought it was a sure thing, but then I found out about a month later that I was on the waitlist again, and I thought it was a mistake," Bill said.

Bill is one of about 700 Durham families in the same boat, as worker shortages plague her school district and dozens of others struggle with staff positions and programs.

Now, Bill’s scrambling to find other alternative she can afford.  

“I totally recognize there are reasons why there’s a lack of staff, but I also feel like it could be prioritized over other things. There’s always a pot of money that they have to work with," she said.

Bill says for now, she’ll have to make do.

“My industry, which is the manufacturing industry, they don’t run on 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. I mean there are critical things that would happen in the time that I would be traveling to pick them up," Bill said.

Bill hopes a solution is on the horizon. In the meantime, she’s sounding the alarm.

"I think that what the board and whoever’s working on this issue needs to do, they need to go talk to these people, talk to these people who left. I’m sure pay was a big part of that, but what else? Was it working conditions, was it benefits, was it some other factor that we don’t know? Because we need them back," she said.

The Durham Public School District tells us it needs about 61 after-school care employees to meet this year’s need.

Right now, the district is offering a $2,000 sign on bonus, looking at flexible hours for employees, and talking with partners like the YMCA to solve this problem.