Hen Hud Struggles To Find Substitute Teachers

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Hendrick Hudson School District is having trouble filling teacher vacancies since lowering substitute teacher pay rates last year. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza

MONTROSE, N.Y. – When regular teachers are absent, Hendrick Hudson High School students have been spending more free periods in the cafeteria or library without instruction, because of the school's difficulty finding substitute teachers.

"The district has difficulty in finding subs for all classes that need to be covered. Substitute teaching is not a lucrative profession, especially when we find out late that a teacher's going to be absent, it's all but impossible to cover that class," said Brian Monahan, interim superintendent.

"One would hope that they work on material for that class or another class, there's no doubt that often they will socialize," said Monahan.

Monahan said the Hendrick Hudson Board of Education's decision to reduce substitute teacher pay by 10 percent last year, from $80 per day to $72 per day didn't make it easier to fill daily vacancies. The district saved about $40,000 by reducing the pay, or 0.056 percent of the $70.6 million annual operating budget.

Hen Hud now has the lowest substitute teacher pay rate in Westchester County according to its records, and neighboring Lakeland and Peekskill School Districts pay substitute teachers a base rate of $100 per day.

The only initial daily pay rate lower than Hendrick Hudson's is Rye Neck, which pays uncertified substitute teachers $60 and $100 initial daily pay rates to both bachelor and master degree certified teachers. All substitute teachers are paid $72 at Hendrick Hudson School District, regardless of certification.

"It's certainly had an impact," said Monahan about the pay rate. "But you know, a slightly higher rate of pay would help somewhat but it certainly wouldn't solve the problem," he said.

Monahan said the district has heard an increasing number of concerns from parents and that the district has spoken to the service that provides substitute coverage.

"We've spoken to the service that provides our substitutes to see if they can provide the ratio of vacancies that are filled and we're looking at whether there are frankly other options in terms of having the students do something that's meaningful," he said. 

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Comments (9)

Mike R:

Anyone walk into the high school yet this year? Did you see the new 60" flat screen tv's at the entrance and in the cafeteria? How about a smart board in every room? What's wrong with chalk? It worked for my teachers when I was a kid. If you can't afford teachers for the classrooms, who decided it was ok to purchase flat screen tv's?

Forall1:

Thats around $8.00 an hour.That wont even pay off school loans.

fedupinny:

Cortlandt10 you seem to be suggesting that we should just let our kids sit there for a day or two when teachers are out...why so they can be overloaded when the teacher returns and stressed out more? Is this about saving money for the school or doing the right thing for our kids. Even in absences, lesson plans should be available to attempt to keep the kids on track so they are doing SOMETHING class related not sitting there doing nothing

fedupinny:

Subs aren't supposed to be babysitters. I agree with Coca why aren't the plans available for those subs to be able to teach the kids in the teachers absence. Just as with teachers their are bad subs but I've also heard many times from my kids that have gone through the school district that subs will say they have nothing to teach them as nothing was left so the kids are left to read, study or just sit there.

Coca:

A fed-up taxpayer!

angel125:

And coca you sound like an angry what?

Coca:

Since when are state certified substitutes teachers babysitters? These "babysitters" as you describe them are hard working, and in many cases, with more education and experience then the dead beat teachers that feel the need to take so much time away from their jobs that they are a substantial drain on the school budget. UNDERSTAND, THIS DOES NOT MEAN ALL THE HHSD TEACHERS ARE DEADBEATS-just the ones that can't work a five day, perhaps 5 hours of work. Many of the old timers have been teaching the same subject for years- and must do minimal preparation. They are able to hide behind the union and the teachers who really do teach. If the teachers are using lesson plans, which we know they should, why isn't the lesson plan available for the subs? There would be continuity and we could have the students get the mandated number of school days set by the state. It would be a wonderful idea to have all the teachers attendance posted to see who the offenders are-putting shame where it should truly be. Our tax dollars should not go to having students choose between " socializing or completing packets". If we had a policy to remove the warm-body substitute why not go all the way and let students stay at home, in their warm beds and learn on-line? The above writer sounds like an angry teacher.

cortlandt10:

Daily subs at the HS are little more than babysitters...which HS students don't need @ $72/day. Although subs are nominally placed according to their expertise, in practice they are put anywhere the HS needs a warm body. Why not have a policy that eliminates subs for teacher absences of one or two days? If a teacher knows in advance that he or she will be absent they can hand out a work packet the day before the absence and require that it be completed and turned in when he or she returns. The next day during that class period, kids can choose to socialize or complete the packet. which is what happens in a typical substitute-supervised class anyway. If a teacher is out unexpectedly there will be no lesson plan or work packet whether or not a substitute is hired. If we had a policy that eliminated the warm-body substitutes, we could afford to offer a higher rate of pay for teachers with expertise who would teach across a teacher absence of several days or more.

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