substitute teachers

Christena Dickson helps students pick out books in the library at Falls Valley Elementary School on Dec. 1, 2020.

In the hopes of handling staffing challenges better, Idaho Falls School District 91 and Bonneville Joint School District 93 are offering incentives for substitute teachers.

The District 91 school board approved incentives for substitute teachers during its most recent meeting Nov. 10. Substitute teachers who work for 40 hours in a month are eligible for a $150 bonus. An additional 40 hours in a month makes them eligible for an extra $200 bonus to total a maximum $350 bonus if someone works 80 hours in a month.

Additionally, substitute teachers will be reimbursed at District 91 for fingerprinting and training fees. The district also has adjusted its pay scale to offer more income for substitutes with a college degree or if they are a certified teacher.

District 91 pays substitute teachers $11.88 per hour if they do not have a college degree. Those who have a college degree receive $12.50 an hour and substitute teachers with teacher certification receive $12.71 per hour.

“We’re trying to make it a little bit easier for folks to sign up and become substitute teachers in our district,” said Margaret Wimborne, District 91 director of Communications and Community Engagement.

District 93 also is offering incentives for substitute teachers and classified staff. Classified staff employees will receive about a $600 bonus in December and substitutes will get a $125 bonus for working 10 days in one month.

According to the District 93 human resources department, the district pays substitute teachers anywhere from $9.02 per hour to $12.11 per hour, depending on the individual’s qualifications.

District 93 substitute teacher clerk Nancy Peterson said in a September news release that substitute teachers also have an incentive of picking which days they’d like to work and which teachers they’d like to sub for, which allows parents to sub at their child’s school if they’d like. Additionally, people may sub as a paraprofessional for the same pay as what the district pays substitute teachers.

In September, Gov. Brad Little announced in a news release the state was allocating $10 million toward “Substitute Teacher Recruitment Grants” so school districts could better recruit and retain substitute teachers and other classroom support staff. The state also is giving paid time off to state employees who serve as a substitute teacher.

Idaho Education News reported on Oct. 27 that some state executive branch employees are unintentionally being paid twice, with one check coming from school districts and another coming from the state, meaning taxpayer dollars are paying these employees twice.

Peterson said in an email to the Post Register no state employees have filled in as substitute teachers in District 93 since the governor’s order. Although she mentioned a couple employees from Idaho National Laboratory have subbed.

Wimborne said one state employee has reached out to District 91 about potentially filling in as a substitute teacher.

“It’s great to have them help out in our schools and we’d welcome more state employees to help out as well,” Wimborne said.

Many school districts in Idaho and across the nation are suffering from the effects of staffing shortages this year. District 93 Executive Director of Planning and Personnel Heath Jackson said in October the district was in a dire situation with limited staff.

Idaho school districts have until Dec. 15 to tap into the $10 million fund of the recruitment grants. Jackson earlier informed the Post Register this created a challenge for the district because it only has one substitute pay cycle to use the $400,000 it’s been given. Wimborne said District 91 is facing the same problem.

“It helps for a couple of months but our school year runs from August through the following May or June so that is certainly challenging there,” Wimborne said.

Individuals interested in being a substitute teacher can call District 91 at 208-525-7510 or call District 93 at 208-557-6821.

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