DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) – Hidden behind the Dubuque Community School District’s main office building is the Print Center. The workers and equipment there pretty much keep schools running.
”The Print Center supplies our buildings with instructional materials, classroom resources,” Mike Cyze, the district’s chief communication officer, said. “We do about 20 million impressions here a year that we print in our Print Center.”
This year, however, school leaders expect that number to be much lower because of a nationwide paper shortage.
”What we will do as a district is look at in what areas can we conserve that and really prioritize what we are printing and what we are not to make sure our most essential materials are making it to classrooms,” Cyze said.
Kevin Kelleher, the district’s chief financial officer, said the shortage is a result of the ongoing pandemic.
“There are labor shortages in the trucking industry, which is not allowing the products to make it to the manufacturer as well as the distributor, which, in turn, makes it hard for us to get our product,” Kelleher said.
But paper is not the only thing that is running low in schools nowadays: there is also a food shortage, specifically when it comes to chicken-based products.
“I was talking yesterday to the kitchen manager,” Kelleher said. “She, at this point in time, can no longer get any chicken-based products, so she cannot get chicken patties, she cannot get chicken strips, she cannot get chicken nuggets. So we are having to alter our menus almost on a week by week basis depending on the products’ availability.”
The third big shortage is on computer chips. Kelleher explained this shortage could prevent the district from replacing the computers they hand out to students each year, which means they would have to extend the current life cycles of the current laptops.
“Our 6 through 12 [students] all have individual laptops and there is a replacement cycle for that and we buy that every year,” Kelleher said. “Looking at what they are saying it could be a year out before we get some of the computers that we normally order.”
Even though he described it as a changing situation, Kelleher is not expecting things to get much better for a while. He said, however, the district will continue making adjustments to ensure students receive the education and nutrition they expect.
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