Wareham educators demand solution to substitute shortage

Oct 26, 2017

The Wareham School Committee received a letter signed by 181 educators asking for a solution to a problem with “clear and negative impact” in the district – a substitute teacher shortage.

At Wednesday’s School Committee meeting, fifth grade teacher and union president Brian Fitzgerald delivered the message, saying low pay and large classes are part of the problem.

“The substitutes we do hire are soon overwhelmed and do not return,” said Fitzgerald.

Currently, Wareham substitute teachers are paid $65. Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood reported that a survey of area schools found that Wareham pays its substitute teachers the least while the highest paid substitutes are at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School. There, teachers are paid $90 per day.

Shaver-Hood added that of area schools she found seven pay $80 per day and six pay $75. She noted that the problem goes beyond money, however.

“If I thought the solution would be as easy as raising pay I would bring that recommendation to you,” Shaver-Hood told committee members.

Instead, she recommended a committee be formed consisting of one School Committee member, one union representative and several administrators to examine the problem.

Committee members agreed and Shaver-Hood said she hopes a solution will be found soon.

“We are interested in doing something this fiscal year because it is a concern,” said Shaver-Hood.