Unit 5 Veteran: Substitute Teacher Pay Is Not Enough | WGLT

Unit 5 Veteran: Substitute Teacher Pay Is Not Enough

Aug 23, 2018

A veteran Unit 5 substitute teacher said the district doesn’t pay in a timely manner, let alone enough for the job.

Pam Etcheson addressed the Unit 5 school board Wednesday, saying she wants the board to consider paying subs at the same time as teachers and administrators: every two weeks.

“Subs do not get paid until the second month, the 17th of the next month after they’ve worked,” said Etcheson, who's been subbing for six years. “So if I work all of September, and I do work all nine months, I don’t get paid until the 17th of October for the work I did at the beginning of September.”

She also said the pay for substitute teachers is not enough. She said she wants to see the district expand its Friday rate of $110 to every day.

“They pay $80 a day, $40 for a half a day, once you take out your Social Security, your Medicare, your taxes, it’s quite a bit less,” Etcheson said. “We’re in front of the class the entire day, presenting a delivery, monitoring students, almost entertaining to keep their focus on us for the entire day especially since we’re new to them and not the regular teacher.”

Barry Hitchins, Unit 5 board president, said substitute salaries are on the agenda for the next meeting of the board.

“The only comment I have is that we are planning to have a discussion on that at the next board meeting,” Hitchins said. “Even though we are consistent with other local districts, we have a daily deficiency in filling substitute positions, and over the long haul of a 180-school day year, that does take a toll on the district, so it’s something we need to take a look at.”

Hitchins said the substitute teacher shortage is only one part of the state’s overall teacher shortage, but that the lack of subs is getting worse. GLT recently reported on the teacher shortage issue in a four-part series called Skipping School.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the district’s tentative 2018-2019 budget showed a $5.9 million structural deficit in the education fund due to teacher and administrator raises, hiring, and other expenses. Hitchins said further implications of this deficit will be addressed at the next board meeting.

People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.