I don’t know about your childhood school days, but one of the best parts of my day was lunch. Socialization time with friends, great food and Mrs. Baker, the lunch lady, whose genuine caring for all of us students was obvious in her beautiful smile and individualized greeting each day. Sidney Schools is experiencing difficulty meeting the needs of our students in many different capacities. While this problem began with the oil boom a dozen years or so ago, it has not resolved itself.

Our food service staff led by our own “lunch lady,” Pam Radke, goes above and beyond to prepare and serve nutritious and appealing lunch and breakfasts to the many students at our schools- maintaining variety while still meeting the governmental nutritional standards that continue to evolve with each year. Breakfasts are now offered at all schools have become an important feature for our students providing stamina for classroom activities- but adding breakfast creates a need for more staff…we need you! Sidney Schools needs servers- people willing to work from 9 or 10 a.m. until after clean-up at the individual schools until about 2 p.m. It is not easy work but a smile and thank you from your students is the best reward.

Perhaps cleaning is your forte and creating a safe, clean environment for our students a goal. Another memory from my school days was the custodian who adjusted my desk to fit me each year- he always had a comment on how much I had grown. Or the two custodians in Sidney who saw my son after school hours on a regular basis because he forgot his books again. To reward them for their patience with him, he took each of them a heart shaped box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. All through his school years he had a positive relationship with the building custodians. Most custodians will recall fondly the hugs and smiles they get from the littles each day.

Custodians touch our children in so many ways- providing that clean area when illness is rampant, encouraging a sick child or offering a smile or high five in the hallway. The custodian shortage is extreme right now in all schools …yet this wonderful staff with the help of some school employees and students have worked hard this summer to make their schools shine when welcoming students back in August.

Custodial shifts generally run from 2 — 3 in the afternoon until around 8 or 9. At this time all schools need to fill full-time positions except the Middle School. We are willing to work with job share situations, part-time help (maybe two people with a four-hour shift cleaning an assigned area instead of full-time eight hour) and people willing to work activities. If the custodian shortage continues, careful consideration will be given to allowing use of the schools/gyms for non-school events as personnel is not available to monitor and clean-up following use.

School districts are notorious for not paying outstanding wages- you must remember that we are legislated on budgets and program money comes from the taxpayers pocket- limiting what can be paid.

We have many dedicated people filling these positions. Some who have provided 20-plus years to the school system in their vocation. Please consider offering your services to a school.

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