Franklin Co. Schools seeing increasing shortage in substitute teachers

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- According to The State Journal, Franklin County Schools is having problems finding substitute teachers to cover for absent teachers.

The newspaper says that FCS has 119 available substitute teachers. Superintendent Mark Kopp said the substitute teacher shortage has been a problem since 2016. In September 2016, for example, there were 23 classrooms without a substitute. In 2017, there were 36 and, this year during September, 84 classes were left without substitute teachers.

“This isn’t only a Franklin County problem but something every school district statewide is facing,” Kopp said. “When the economy is doing well and unemployment is low, school districts tend to face this challenge because substitute teachers have other jobs too,” he said.

Assistant Superintendent John Fields said he’s researched what other districts pay substitute teachers and found FCS pays a comparable wage. According to the substitute teacher pay schedule for FCS, compensation is decided by a few factors. The district sets pay based on their education level and whether they have a teaching certificate or not, said FCS Director of Human Resources Holly Adkins.

The ranking goes from 1, which is for people who have the most education and a teaching certificate, down to a 5, which is substitute teachers who don’t have a bachelor degree but have more than 60 college credit hours and no teaching certificate. Pay is also determined by how much full-time teaching experience a substitute has and if they work part of a day or a full day.

Adkins said most of the substitute teachers who work at FCS are rank 4, which means they have a bachelor’s degree in some field but no teaching certificate. If a rank 4 substitutes for a full day, which is four or more hours, at one of the Franklin County schools and has no full-time teaching experience, he would make $85 a day. If the substitute worked between two and four hours, that counts as half a day and the person would make half that amount, Adkins said.

Kopp said he intends to present a recommendation to the FCS Board of Education that includes incentivizing days substitute teachers work to encourage them to fill in more often. One idea includes paying substitute teachers who work 60 total days an extra $10 per day with a $600 retroactive bonus.

During Monday’s school board meeting, board member BeLinda Henson asked if it would be possible to partner with Kentucky State University and recruit university students to substitute teach for class credit or another incentive. Kopp responded that was something he and Fields could look into, but FCS needs substitute teachers during the day and that could clash with university class schedules.

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