The Cape Girardeau School District will raise substitute teacher pay in an attempt to combat a shortage of registered substitute teachers.
As of Oct. 1, substitutes with a bachelor's degree will earn $70 a day ($10 an hour), up 40 percent from $50 a day ($7.14 an hour). This is the first increase in more than 20 years, school officials said.
The increase will allow the district to become more competitive in recruiting substitute teachers.
"You don't do it for the money," said Shannon Anders, a substitute at Central High School. "You have to love it or you wouldn't do it for any amount of money."
Last school year, the district averaged 25 substitute requests a day. There were days last year when the district had more than 40 substitution requests and needed a pool of 125 to 150 registered substitutes to fill those 40 spots. "Just because they are registered does not mean they are available every day, neither does it mean that they want to substitute in every building," Richards said.
The district has run into a number of problems, such as substitutes not willing to commit to future dates because they may be called by another school district that pays more.
Anders said many substitute teachers she knows have been going to Jackson, Scott City and other places because of pay.
Right now the district is operating with about 60 registered substitutes, said Gerald Richards, director of personnel.
On a day when 40 subs are needed, we have a problem, he said.
"We have run into a problem on a number of days since the school year began," Richards said.
On those days the buildings have a plan in which teachers are used to cover classes during their planning periods.
Anders said she only substitutes at Central because the state only allows her to substitute for 90 days during the school year before the state keeps her retirement check. She often is at 90 days before the fourth quarter begins.
With the raise, Anders would make $6,300 for working all 90 days instead of $4,500.
With the pay raise the district is hoping to attract those people who have a degree because they make stronger substitutes, Richards said.
"I think it encourages people to continue their education," Anders said.
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