BILLINGS, Mont. -- The shortage of crossing guards, substitute teachers, and supportive roles has forced some educators in the Billings Public School system to wear even more hats than they already do.  Principal of Boulder Elementary, Jeri Heard, stepped in on the first day of school today as a crosswalk guard.

"They are the first face of our school in the morning. Our kids need them to get them here safely and we need crosswalk guards," says Heard.

Heard says so far they have not received any applications for the six to eight positions available.  Greg Upham, Billings Public Schools Superintendent, says this is a common theme with other roles within the district.

"We're in the same challenge as the entire community and basically the country and that is, there is a declining employee pool out there, so yeah that's true with our substitute teachers and our instructional paras.  We actually for the first time saw a drop in the number of teacher applicants that we've had.  So we're in the same boat that everyone else is and that is we need to find good quality people and especially people who like our kids."

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