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Center School District fights substitute-teacher shortage with pay increase

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Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 19:57:24-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Substitute teachers in the Center School District will receive a pay increase.

It's the district's solution to a substitute-teacher shortage plaguing classrooms around the metro.

Interim Superintendent Michael Weishaar said the district decided to increase its pay rate for substitutes from $100 a day to $110 over the summer, but a few months into the school year, the district decided to offer more competitive pay, so it rose to $130 a day.

"I think this makes us, hopefully, more attractive to not only substitute teachers but other individuals who are outside of education," Weishaar said.

Center High School Principal Edward Tate said the substitute teacher shortage creates a significant burden on teachers who have to fill in when there aren't enough subs.

"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 Tuesday, but was only able to secure nine substitutes, which meant other teachers had to give up their planning period to fill in.

Center High School world history teacher Steve Parker said that time is crucial is for grading papers and creating lesson plans, among other tasks teachers are responsible for.

"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 said he hopes the pay incentive will help bring in quality subs for the district and its students.

"They need consistency,” Parker said, “and if you are here for them, they love you.”