On Your Side: School districts need more substitute teachers

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:07 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - During a normal year, the task of schools finding enough substitute teachers is a difficult one. Of course, this is no ordinary year.

In smaller districts, like Clever, administrators might step-in and sub.

“I could see just about anybody working at any location because we don’t know what’s coming down the line,” said Benjy Fenske, Superintendent, Clever Schools.

Same goes for Spokane. No more combining classrooms when teachers are out.

“Some of the things you did in the past you can’t do. For instance, if you didn’t have a sub teacher you might double kids up. You can’t do that because you have too many kids and you can’t socially distance,” said Della Bell-Freeman, Superintendent, Spokane Schools.

In Springfield, the biggest school district in the state, on average has nearly two hundred absences a day.

“At this point we are confident 75-80% of those substitutes will be returning based on the info we have today which could change certainly in the days and weeks ahead,” said Penny Rector Human Resources, Springfield Public Schools.

Rector says recruiting never stops.

“We will continue to strive for that to be a larger number as we would in a regular year. The atypical circumstances we’re in, I’d like to see that much higher,” she said.

Right now, it’s sixty college hours for a substitute certification. That might change.

“We have been serving on a task force with the state and with Penmac seeking some additional qualifications for substitutes. We are hopeful that will be finalized in the coming weeks so we will have a broader pool available that’s been approved by the state,” said Rector.

Substitutes in the Ozarks make anywhere between $80 to $100 per day and must pass a background check.

The State Board of Education will consider the new certification option next week.

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