In the four years since the Johnson County School District last raised salaries for substitute teachers, the district’s rate has fallen well behind the curve.

The district’s $94.50 daily salary fell well short of other nearby districts that pay anywhere from $105 (in Campbell County) to $155 (in Natrona County), according to statistics shared at an Oct. 14 school board meeting. But the Johnson County school board took a big step toward bridging that gap during its Oct. 14 meeting.

“We are going to, as a district, raise that to $110,” Vice-Chairman Dave Belus said. “We’ve been having a hard time with recruiting subs, and hopefully people will see this raise and it will maybe stir a bit of interest. People should know that we are trying to match what other districts are doing.”

The $15.75-a-day pay raise will bring the district’s daily rate for substitute teachers up to $110.25, according to Belus. This puts the district in line with Sheridan County school districts Nos. 1 and 3, which both pay $110-a-day for substitute teachers.

The salary increase comes as the district works to recruit new substitute teachers and maintain its current roster, according to Kellie Boedecker, the district’s director of curriculum and learning.

Boedecker said that recruiting and hiring substitute teachers is an ongoing problem for the district because teachers take days off to assist with sports, band and other school activities. On the district’s “highest impact day”– Friday – as many as 20 or 30 teachers can be absent from the classroom, Boedecker said.

“We have about 50 subs on our rolls right now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re available,” Boedecker told the Bulletin in September. “Some people can only work certain days. Making sure that our schools are fully staffed can be difficult – especially on those high-impact days.”

There are several paths to certification for prospective substitute teachers, according to Boedecker. One is to complete at least 60 semester hours at or receive an associate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Another way is to complete at least 24 hours of training and 30 hours of classroom observation, Boedecker said.

The new pay rate for substitute teachers will be applied starting with the district’s Nov. 15 payroll, according to the district’s executive administrative assistant Heidi Sanchez.

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