Highland increases substitute payments

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


RIVERSIDE ? The Highland School Board approved increasing substitute pay to $135 a day for the 2018-19 school year.

This was in response to what neighboring districts would be paying next year.

?Both the Washington and Mid-Prairie School districts recently have approved their sub pay to be $135 [a day],? interim superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen said. ?They were also $110, as we are ? that?s quite a variance. I don?t know if we necessarily need to jump our sub pay to $135.?

He told board members he thought an adjustment would need to be made for the 2018-19 school year, though. He suggested $120 to $125, to be competitive with other districts.

?How are substitutes evaluated?? board member Megan Allen asked.

?There?s no formal system for substitute evaluation ? no,? Highland High School principal Angela Hazelett said.

?They?re kind of a subcontractor, really,? board President Nate Robinson added.

Allen asked Hazelett and Highland Elementary principal Jane O?Leary how they decide if they don?t want a substitute to return. They both said they don?t make that decision.

Robinson said the district increased the substitute pay two years ago. He asked Hazelett and O?Leary if that increased the substitutes working in the district.

?No, but I?ve had two subs tell that they could make more money in neighboring districts and they?ve also expressed an interest in being able to use an online system, which I know is expensive and we?re not ready for,? O?Leary said. ?The online system for taking a sub job instead of waiting to be called, but it?s pricey and I don?t think we?re ready for that yet ? that?s the feedback I?ve gotten.?

Jorgensen said the substitute pay was going to be too big of a gap for next year if left where it was now and substitutes would go work elsewhere.

Robinson said he thought paying $135 a day for a substitute was a big jump.

?It is very difficult to get subs,? O?Leary said.

?I understand,? Robinson said. ?Twenty-five dollars an hour per day.?

?But they are teaching in the class, from what I understand,? Allen said.

A lot of that depends on what the teacher has prepared for the substitute to do, Hazelett said.

This would be a good way to recruit new teachers who are just trying to get into teaching by working as a substitute first, Jorgensen said. If they?re any good they could be hired by the district.

?Is this going to increase our sub bay at all or stop it from decreasing?? Robinson asked.

?I think it will stop it from decreasing,? O?Leary said. ?We may get an increase second semester with people who graduated.?

The substitutes working in the district often are covering two different teachers when they?re there because it is very hard to find a substitute, Hazelett said.

Board member Kevin Engel said he thought paying $125 wasn?t going to be enough. He made the motion to increase substitute pay to $135 a day, which was approved unanimously.

The board also approved the second reading of board policy 213 ? public participation, board policy series 506.2-508.2 ? students and first reading of board policies 600-602 ? education.