Putnam County School Board voted to increase substitute pay Thursday night to try to increase those interested in serving.
Putnam County Director of Schools Corby King said the system has often had difficulty recruiting substitutes. But COVID-19 will likely exacerbate the issue.
“We have teachers that we know we’re going to miss, whether they have COVID themselves or a close contact and they’re exposed and they have to quarantine for that,” King said. “We need more substitutes. So that’s all this is, is just trying to get more substitutes that are willing to come in and cover the classrooms for us.”
Already this week, the system came up several teachers short of the substitute need. On one day, King said the system needed 20 but could only find 15 teachers. On another, they came up about four teachers short.
The system has begun combing its substitute roster some 246 teachers to see if some teachers will opt not to teach this year. King said several retired teachers have served as substitutes in the past. They may feel more susceptible to COVID risks.
“So we’re trying to go through our list and just see if we can get people who make sure they’re willing to work,” King said. “And they may have had conflicts themselves, but trying to work through that sub list and get people who are dedicated who can be there and cover the classrooms when we have a need.”
Without enough substitutes, King said the principals have to adapt and that’s hard on everyone.
“Teachers assistants and teachers both losing planning periods,” King said. “It’s already stressful and a lot going on planning and prepping for classes. We have the situation right now, you know, especially if they’ve got in-person learners and remote learners. And so they’re adapting, trying to cover both. That planning period’s precious time for our teachers right now.”
“We need to get away from that so we have to have some subs. We just can’t continue to function in that type environment very long.”
Under the new pay plan, Putnam County retired teachers receive $115 per day. Certified teachers receive $95.00 per day and non-certified teachers receive $85.00 per day.
Substitute teachers must have a high school diploma or GED and be able to pass a TBI background check.