Soccer team steps up to help clean their school amid custodial staffing shortage

Posted on 10/17/2022
Soccer team steps up to help clean their school amid custodial staffing shortage

A group of student-athletes has stepped up to help clean as dozens of custodial positions remain open at Francis Howell School District (FHSD) school buildings.

With more than 16,000 students enrolled at FHSD and 23 school buildings to maintain, the custodial staff is struggling to keep up due to significant staffing shortages. 

That’s what inspired Francis Howell Central High School soccer coach Taylor Yocum to help. He hopes sharing his team’s story might inspire others to do the same.

 “I heard that the District has been affected by the labor shortage and desperately needed custodians. I knew the 20 boys on our soccer team could use this opportunity to help as a teambuilding exercise,” Yocum said.

The soccer team came together and volunteered in place of their typical practice routine. Once they were equipped with mops, brooms and vacuums, they went to work! The group dusted the tops of lockers and swept every hallway of their school. The team hopes their efforts will inspire more groups to get involved at their own schools. 

 “The custodians could really use your help," Yocum said. "It’s such a simple thing for each of us in the community to step up and help make a difference."

School districts across the country are working hard to find creative solutions to fill vacancies. Statewide, Missouri unemployment remains low, and the unemployment rate in St. Charles County was just 2.20% in July 2022, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“It’s great to see students and staff stepping up to help where needed and I thank them for their leadership and commitment. We also recognize this is not a sustainable solution,” said Superintendent Dr. Ken Roumpos.

“Recruiting and retaining qualified and committed staff to work in our schools is one of my top priorities. To be successful long term, FHSD must offer competitive wages and desirable working conditions. We are  in the process of working with the Board, District leadership team and our employee associations to implement changes that positively impact wages and working conditions for custodians and other support staff positions.”

FHSD is currently offering high school students part-time jobs with flexible hours as student custodial subs. Students who are at least 17 are eligible to apply. Currently, about one-third of the custodial positions are unfilled within the District. Those interested can apply on the District’s website here.
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