LHS superintendent leads the charge to bring veterans into school workforce

Can a local high school superintendent make a difference when facing a statewide and national issue? You bet.

To satisfy a staffing shortage at schools, Lassen Union High School Superintendent Morgan Nugent walks point in an effort to bring more veterans into the workforce at schools in Susanville, California and across the nation.

Morgan Nugent, Lassen Union High District’s superintendent.

Here’s a letter Nugent wrote on the topic
“Nationally, we are dealing with a staffing issue that is impacting our ability to fill critical needs across our schools. From teachers to bus drivers, every position in our public schools is dealing with a shortage of qualified candidates. A small group of school superintendents and board members across California have come together to look at solutions to this national employment crisis in our public schools. This group consists of former military members and employees of the Department of Defense who see the benefit of recruiting and retaining members of our military to serve their communities as public school employees.

“In 1993, Troops to Teachers was created to help transitioning military members into our public schools. In 2019, approximately 102,000 veterans have become teachers through this program. We see the value in this program but want to expand this program. We believe that, if someone can drive an armored personnel carrier in battle, then they are more than qualified to drive a school bus. The military does a great job training their people in areas of communication, IT, food services, accounting, administration, safety and security and other areas as well. It is time we capitalize on that incredible training and use it to our nation’s advantage.

“Some of the districts in our coalition have worked with their unions to provide our veterans an additional year of service for placement on the salary schedule, while others have passed board resolutions to provide a yearly cash incentive for their veterans. Ultimately, every district needs to decide if this is something that they would like to consider as a means of both honoring those who have served our country, and offering one solution to the crisis of employment we all currently face in our schools.

“If you are interested in doing this, feel free to reach out to morgan.nugent@lassenhigh.org, and I will send you the language that we used for our board meetings and union discussions.

“We are looking at gaining additional support from districts across our nation, so that we can work with our legislatures to help expand the Troops to Teachers program to Troops to Schools. We will be working closely with our legislatures, Veteran’s Affairs members, VFW, American Legion, Department of Defense and other state agencies to help facilitate the recruitment and licensures that may be required to both recruit and smoothly transition our veterans into our schools.

“If you would like to join us and add your name to the list of districts who support the expansion of Troops to Teachers to Troops to Schools, please feel free to email us at troopstoschools@gmail.com.”

Troops to Schools
Purpose: Address the ongoing staffing shortages in public education by targeting military veterans for certificated and classified positions within the schools. Highly skilled employees who are able to meet the needs of their communities.

Current language with CSEA
Salary preference will be given for honorably discharged or retired veterans hired after July 1, 2007. There will be a one-step adjustment at initial date of employment on the salary schedule for such veterans. A copy of the veterans DD-214 must be filed with the LUHSD Personnel Department.

Why

  • Currently there are more than 10,000 teacher vacancies in the state of California.
  • 1.38 million veterans in California.
  • 157,000 active duty personnel in California.
  • 70,000 reservists and national guard in California.
  • Veterans trained in the area of transportation, accounting, food services, IT/Com, safety and security, facility/maintenance and education are able to supplement or fulfill roles that can be utilized in the public sector of education.
  • 1 percent of 1.6 million military members equals 16,000 possible employees to California schools.
  • Lack of educators and skilled employees are affecting the schools ability to meet the educational needs of students within their communities, thus impacting our economy and national security.

How

  • Hiring Incentive.
  • Step increase for military veterans.
  • Cash incentive.

LUHS District, Lassen Teachers Association sign MOU to give veterans preference
On Sept. 21, 2023, the Lassen Unified High School District and the Lassen Teachers Association signed an Memorandum of Understanding to give veterans preference in hiring.

According to the MOU, “The district is committed to supporting veterans and recognizing their valuable contributions to our nation. In furtherance of this commitment, the district wishes to implement a policy that provides a salary preference to honorably discharged or retired veterans during the hiring process.

“Eligible candidates, newly hired after July 1, 2024 will be eligible to receive the salary increase. Current employees that were hired prior to July 1, 2024, and that are not currently maxed out on the salary schedule, will be credited one year on the salary schedule as of July 1, 2024.”