KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City school district is increasing the pay of its substitute teachers in a move to address a shortage that is plaguing classrooms around the metro.
Michael Weishaar, interim superintendent of the Center School District, said the district decided to increase its pay rate for substitutes from $100 a day to $110 over the summer. But the district decided to bump up pay to $130 a day just a few months into the school year.
“I think this makes us, hopefully, more attractive to not only substitute teachers but other individuals who are outside of education,” Weishaar said.
Weishaar noted that the number of available substitutes has declined gradually over the last few years.
“But this year in particular is a more dire situation,” he added.
Center High School Principal Edward Tate said that the lack of substitute teachers can create a significant burden on teachers who then must fill in when there are not enough substitutes.
“Last week, we had a day where we had 13 teachers out,” Tate said. “We’re hoping with this new incentive we will see an increased presence of subs and jobs that are filled so we don’t put the added stress on our teachers who have taught most of the day.”
The high school had 10 teachers out sick on Tuesday, but was only able to get nine substitutes, which meant other teachers had to forgo their planning period to fill in.
Steve Parker, a world history teacher at Center High School, said that time is vital is for grading papers and making lesson plans, among the other responsibilities for teachers.
“Taking away that time here in school that was allotted to us really kind of adds to the already tough job of being a teacher,” Parker said.
He added that he hopes the pay increase will help bring in quality substitutes for the district and its students.
“They need consistency,” Parker said, “and if you are here for them, they love you.”