Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 is increasing pay for substitutes in an effort to combat a shortage.
The School Board voted Jan. 27 to increase pay to $95 from $84 a day, and to $114 from $100.92 for retired District 181 teachers. The change takes effect Feb. 1 and is expected to add no more than $40,000 annually to district costs.
Doug Eccarius, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, said there has been a severe shortage of substitutes during the 2013-14 school year.
“We have been short substitutes on at least 25 school days so far this year,” he said. “In addition, locating enough substitutes, especially in specialized positions, can be extremely challenging.”
Eccarius said substitutes include all non-administrative school positions, other than custodians.
Eccarius said he believes the biggest problem in attracting substitutes to work in the district has been that the pay is too low and not comparable to other districts.
He said a survey of more than 30 school districts indicated a range of pay from $80 to $165.55 (after ten days).
“Our substitute pay was the second lowest,” he said.
Eccarius said District 181’s rate of pay previously was $94.10 a day, and $112.92 for retired district teachers. However, when the district was facing budget concerns in 2010, the substitute pay was decreased.
“Each year since, our substitute pool has decreased,” he said. “In 2010, it included approximately 200 people. This year, it includes approximately 150 people, and less than 40 subs accept regular substitute opportunities.”
Eccarius said he believes the pay increase will help.
“It is hard to say if it will solve the substitute shortage,” he said, adding other measures, such as bonuses for days worked or a tiered payment approach, may be explored.
District 181 uses an average of 35 to 40 substitutes each day. The largest number that has been needed so far during the 2013-14 school year was 77 substitutes, 66 of whom were for a full day and 11 for a half day.
“The substitutes are requested for multiple reasons, including sick leave, personal leave, professional development, release time for meetings, et cetera,” he said. “Our building secretaries and our sub caller do an excellent job of reorganizing assigned substitutes to cover additional periods. They also find district staff that can internally substitute for select periods.”