BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Substitute shortages in the Maumee school district have prompted the school board to adopt new policies aimed at reducing the staffing shortfall.
At the November 11 meeting, school board members unanimously approved a new incentive program that offers cash bonuses to new subs and to individuals who refer subs to the district. In addition, the board also approved a measure that allows undergraduate student teachers and individuals who do not have a college degree to serve as substitute teachers.
District Assistant Super-intendent Steve Lee helped craft the proposals, which he says are needed in Maumee. Each day, there are shortages in school buildings from teaching to operational positions.
“It is a challenge,” he said. “Every day, in all buildings, we have unfilled positions.”
The staff is moved around to cover those positions, he added.
Last year the district added one permanent substitute in each building and pay raises were handed out to all subs earlier this year, but the district needed to do more, Lee said.
A $150 referral incentive is being offered to any district staff member who refers an individual to a substitute position after that individual completes at least one full day of work.
“We want to encourage people to recruit for us,” Lee said. “We’ve got a lot of good staff and a lot of staff that are feeling the pinch of not having enough subs.”
The district will also reimburse approximately $100 in fees associated with the employment process including fingerprint fees, substitute license fees applied to new hires and educational aide permits.
Bonuses are also being handed out to substitutes – and the more days worked, the more money a sub can earn. With the incentive, all substitute teachers, classroom assistants, custodians, maintenance workers, secretaries, clerk librarians and bus drivers may earn an extra $100 after 10 days of work, another $250 after 25 days of work, another $500 after 50 days and $1,000 in additional bonus money after working 100 days in the district.
Intervention agents earn the same bonuses, plus they receive a $200 signing bonus. Those individuals are usually certified teachers who provide intervention and support for students who are not on track. Qualified candidates may not be certified teachers, but they would have a college degree, Lee said.
“We’ve had a really difficult time filling those positions this year,” he said.
All food service, cafeteria and playground monitors also receive a bonus; however, that fee structure is different because they are not required to work as many hours per day as the other substitutes. With that incentive, $50.00 is offered after working 10 days, another $125 after working 25 days and another $250 after 50 days of work.
New guidance from the state also helps to fill gaps for substitute teachers. The Ohio legislature in conjunction with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently passed legislation that allows anyone with a high school diploma to serve as a substitute teacher.
“It is a job that requires some skills to be able to come in and manage a classroom and do all of the things that a teacher would do, so we would have an interview and a vetting process to make sure that we are getting the best candidates to work with our kids as subs,” Lee said.
The change will also allow current methods and student teachers the opportunity to serve as a substitute teacher before graduating.
The new policy change for substitute teachers applies to the 2021-22 school year only.
Lee said that the incentives are designed to “come at this from every angle we can think of.”
“If all of these different pieces are happening, then we are going to make some improvement. I don’t think any one thing is going to make a difference, but all of them combined we hope will help to solve the problem,” he said.
Also at the meeting, the school board took the following action:
• Approved an agreement with the Wood County Educational Service Center for school programming services. Cost of the agreement is $70,000 and covers the MaKERS School Year and MaKERS Summer Edition, serving approximately 50 students from incoming kindergarten through sixth grades. The programs run throughout the school year and for six-weeks during summer.
• Approved a resolution to recognize indoor track as an extension of fall cross country and spring track season for the purpose of allowing student-athletes to compete in the OATCCC (Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches) Indoor State Championship.