Looking to retain and recruit substitutes, Derby Public Schools is considering a new set of incentives for subs in the district.
Becky Moeder, assistant superintendent of human resources for the district, shared details on the proposed incentives program at the Derby Board of Education’s meeting on Sept. 13.
Moeder recommended that the incentives program be temporarily instated for the 2021-2022 school year and be funded through ESSER funds, which the district is receiving through federal COVID-19 relief legislation.
“The idea is that they will hopefully want to sub in our district to get more days built up, and then once they reach that higher rate of pay, continue choosing us over surrounding districts,” Moeder said. “[That] just is one reason, with the compensation there, of why they may be choosing to sub in Derby.”
The district cited issues with staffing and substitute coverage at certain buildings as one of the reasons it implemented a new set of masking criteria. Derby Middle School was experiencing some of the worst struggles when the mask policy was proposed in early September.
If the program is approved, a substitute who completes 40 full days of work during the 2021-2022 school year would receive a higher rate of pay for each full day worked as a substitute in the district.
Certified teacher substitutes who have subbed more than 40 days during the school year would receive a rate of $130 per full day and $65 per half day.
Long-term subs who have already reached 40 full days of subbing would earn a rate of $130 for the first 10 days, then $150 for the remainder of their long-term assignment. For long-term subs who have not yet reached 40 days in the district, their days worked would go toward the 40-day count.
Individuals who have been assigned to a floating substitute role would continue to make $150 per day.
Classified subs who worked as a substitute for more than 40 days during this school year would receive an increase of $1 to their hourly wages for any days they work as a classified substitute after that point.
“We know we are always looking for substitutes in food service, custodial substitutes and whatnot – as well as building paras and special education paraprofessionals,” Moeder said about the classified incentives.
The school board will vote on the proposed incentive program at its next meeting on Sept. 27.
Board member Matthew Joyce expressed support for the program, encouraging the district to look for grants and other means to continue to fund the incentives program beyond the current school year.
Moeder agreed that it would be a good idea to establish long-term funding for the program if it’s approved, saying that substitute coverage is an ongoing issue – even during non-pandemic years.
“A shortage of substitutes accepting jobs is not a new problem that we’re working to address,” she said. “And I don’t think that the problem will go away when COVID calms down.”