Pay increase approved for substitute teachers
Substitute teachers are a scarce resource for Wareham Public Schools these days, according to Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood.
At a March 11 School Committee meeting, Shaver-Hood asked committee members to approve temporary pay increases for both permanent substitutes and for the district’s teachers and paraprofessionals who forfeit their prep hours to cover classes.
“We’re finding it a very difficult time to attract substitute teachers,” she said.
Permanent intermittent substitute teachers — people who work at the school any day students are present and cover classes as needed, or support the administration when substitutes are not needed — were being paid $97 per day, but Shaver-Hood proposed increasing that pay to $118 per day. Substitute paraprofessionals were being paid $87 per day, but Shaver-Hood proposed increasing that pay to $100 per day. Paraprofessionals assist teachers to make sure students’ needs are met.
She emphasized that at the existing rates, the district didn’t have applicants for posted substitute openings.
“We’re hoping that this [proposed increase] helps,” Shaver-Hood said. “We know that other area schools have also increased theirs, and so we’re losing out because we cannot match salary.”
Similarly, Shaver-Hood also requested a pay increase for the district’s teachers and paraprofessionals who sometimes cover classes.
“Unit A” staff members — which includes classroom teachers and specialists in art, music and physical education — were being paid $22 per hour to cover a class during the day. Shaver-Hood proposed increasing their pay to $45 per hour for class coverage.
Paraprofessionals (Unit C) were being paid $12 per hour to cover a class during the day or were being paid a $33 differential for an entire day of coverage in place of a teacher. Shaver-Hood proposed increasing paraprofessionals’ pay to $20 per hour for class coverage and to a $45 differential for coverage all day.
Shaver-Hood explained that her request for pay increases was not something the Wareham Educators Association asked for, but rather something she proposed after hearing concerns from district administrators.
“As we start to bring students back and go to five days a week, we’re really concerned about coverages, so we feel like this will be an added assistance,” she said.
She also noted that with the district’s limitations on who can enter school buildings, more teachers are being asked to cover classes when schools are short on substitutes.
“To ask teachers to give up prep time is very difficult with their added duties,” Shaver-Hood said. “And so this is just an incentive to help that go a little bit smoother.”
The committee approved the proposed pay increases unanimously, though member Kevin Brogioli recused himself from the vote pertaining to the district’s teachers and paraprofessionals.
The increased rates will remain in effect only for the remainder of the current school year.