School districts facing substitute teacher shortages

Substitute Teacher Shortage
Posted at 1:27 PM, Sep 28, 2021

A nationwide labor shortage has left schools struggling to find replacements The shortages have resulted in a need for substitute teachers which are also in short supply. Now, school districts are offering some incentives to maintain staff numbers.

“When it comes to staffing, just like any businesses across the country, we have been challenged with staffing many of our positions,” said Lacey Nelson, the director of talent acquisition for Denver Public Schools.

School districts across the country are struggling with dwindling staff numbers after teachers left the profession amid the pandemic.

According to a survey by the National Educators Association, the report found that 32% of teachers considered leaving the profession because of the pandemic.

According to the American Federation of Teachers, substitute teacher numbers are suffering as well.

“Since the pandemic has continued this year, the shortage of subs has been greater than last year,” said Kevin DiPasquale, with the American Federation of teachers. “It’s causing a need of administrators to step up to the plate and substitute teach when there isn’t an individual to cover for students.”

With the rise of the delta infections spike, coupled with more full-time teachers testing positive for COVID, this has led to an increased demand for substitute teachers.

“Ideally, we would have an active workforce of five hundred guest teachers,” Nelson said.

According to the NEA, districts across the country are struggling to fill their substitute teacher rosters. This is why Nelson said DPS, along with many other districts across the country are offering more incentives to get more substitute teachers.

“The CDE has been really helpful and launched last year a new one-year substitute license which allows us to higher teachers without a bachelor’s degree,” Nelson said. “We’ve also increased our hourly rates for the school year. We’ve introduced a new level of licensed substitute teachers. Anyone who has an active teaching license can make a $25 an hour and $200 a day substituting.”

DPS said pre-pandemic the district would have around 500 guest teachers. As of today, the district reports it is only filling 73% of vacancies with a substitute this year compared to 93% last year.