Frontier Central School District is looking at offering different pay steps to keep good substitute teachers coming back.
That’s one of the plans being developed to deal with the challenging problem of finding substitute teachers when there is a teacher shortage, Superintendent Bret Apthorpe said.
“Every school has a substitute teacher shortage. This is really a competitive environment,” he told the School Board Tuesday. “It’s not just about pay. We know this because our highest paying school districts for substitutes also have shortages.”
Frontier pays certified substitute teachers $95 per day, and uncertified substitutes $70 per day.
He said the state has increased the number of days uncertified teachers can teach from 40 to 90, which should help with the shortage. Carolyn Robertson, assistant superintendent for business, has been able to hire certified teachers as substitutes.
Apthorpe also talked about an incentive program that would pay substitutes a higher fee the longer they teach in the district.
“If we have a substitute teacher here for 30 days, they might move up a certain dollar amount the longer they stay,” he said.
The superintendent also noted there are a number of teacher preparation colleges in the area.
“Where I think our great opportunity lies is having our personnel people go out to the universities and make connections,” he said.
He said many of the times the district needs subs would be when colleges are on break, allowing an aspiring teacher to work in the school for a month or more.
Apthorpe also said he wants to make it easier for Frontier’s retired teachers to come back and teach the subjects they know.
Board Member Larry Albert, a retired music teacher in the district, said a lot depends on how the person is treated when he retires.
“I felt very disrespected when I left. It would not have inspired me to come back and substitute here. Other people felt the same way,” he said, adding. “We are now celebrating our retirees instead of asking them how soon can you get out the door.”