DeKALB – DeKalb School District 428 leadership say they hope that boosting the long-term substitute pay for retired teachers will help shore up the teacher shortage.
At Tuesday’s school board meeting, officials voted, 7-0, to authorize a measure to help grapple with the challenges that have been imposed on the district.
However, absences compounded with vacancies in the teaching profession are nothing new, officials said.
“There’s a teacher shortage everywhere and we are definitely feeling the affects of that,” said Deetra Sallis, district director of human resources. “We’re very fortunate to hire retired teachers for reasons that they’re qualified. They have classroom management skills. They know the content. They know how to meet the needs of our students.”
The district finds it is important to incentivize retired educators so they may give consideration to teaching again, officials said.
Sallis said she and Cindy Carpenter, the district’s director of business and finance, studied what other school districts are paying their long-term substitute teachers and determined that DeKalb’s pay rate needed to increase from $130 per day to $250 per day.
“We determined that that would be a good starting point for retired teachers,” Sallis said. “It comes out to $250 per day for long-term substitutes. A long-term assignment is anything that’s 15 days or longer. Any day-to-day assignments will continue to be the same rates as not a retired teacher.”
The new pay rate approved by the school board is retroactive to the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, according to school board documents.
Sallis expressed optimism about the school board’s decision to authorize the pay boost.
“I am very excited about this,” Sallis said. “This is a good opportunity for the district to hopefully be able to attract more folks into our substitute pool but also being able to put more qualified and certified folks back in front of our students when we have a need for those long-term absences. ”