Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityLess than half of Austin's pools reopened Monday due to lifeguard shortage | KEYE
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Less than half of Austin's pools reopened Monday due to lifeguard shortage

File image of Barton Springs Pool. (CBS Austin)
File image of Barton Springs Pool. (CBS Austin)
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As the triple-digit temperatures continue in Central Texas many people are trying to find a place to cool off. However, less than half of Austin's pools reopened to the public on Monday. The City of Austin still needs more than 400 lifeguards to reopen all pools.

The McWhorter family is on a family vacation throughout Central Texas and made a stop at Barton Springs Monday afternoon.

"I'm hoping it's super hot today," Hayden Devine said who is visiting from Waco.

"Do not mind it at all. I'm used to the heat," Jacob McWhorter said.

Barton Springs is one of the more popular destinations, but the lifeguard shortage is keeping many pools closed.

"Looking like a lot of these places are empty with their lifeguard chairs," Devine said.

Even the kids are noticing. Austin Parks and Recreation confirms to CBS Austin that only 15 of the city's 34 pools reopened on Monday due to a lack of lifeguards. There are currently only 345 on the staff of the 750 needed. About 150 lifeguards are still in training.

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"I also thought about what a bummer the parents whose kids are out of school that these municipal pools are closed because it's such a relief in the summer," Austinite, Michael Ganther said.

On Thursday, Austin City Council approved another incentive, waiving $12,000 worth of training fees that lifeguards need. Austin Parks and Recreation announced on Monday that Barton Springs will reopen on Wednesdays and return to full operational hours. Some swimmers hope that the closed pools won't lead to overcrowding in the ones that are open.

"This place on the weekends is off the hook like I've never seen it this way before," Ganther said.

The cloud over hiring lifeguards continues to be the pay. A $1,250 bonus is being offered to applicants, up from $500 earlier this year.

"I think that they probably need to offer to pay the lifeguards more," Ganther added.

A petition signed by more than 600 people is asking the city to raise lifeguard pay up to $22 an hour with an additional $1,150 bonus.

Right now, the pay ranges from $16 to $19 an hour. The pay was bumped up from $15 an hour in April. The petition says that $16 an hour isn't enough to attract more people to be lifeguards.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Board endorsed a pay increase of $22 an hour in March to increase pay rates to a starting liveable wage. The board asked the city to "pursue all available measures to increase staffing to sustainable levels for all aquatics facilities."

"There's plenty of people out there to go around. I'm sure if we work together, we can get something accomplished," Ryan McWhorter said who is visiting from Waco.

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