AUSTIN (KXAN) — In recent weeks Austin Independent School District has seen the need for hundreds of subs as more teachers call out with COVID-19, but what happens when there aren’t enough subs to cover classes?
“I was subbing in a second grade elementary,” said AISD spokesperson Eddie Villa.
Villa is part of the district’s communications team, but for now, he’s also subbing. He’s not the only one as the district’s central office staff have filled in as well, and even Dr. Stephanie Elizalde, AISD’s superintendent, has plans to cover some classes.
“Her specialty subject is math and science so she requested to be one of those teachers and she will be filling in a classroom,” Villa said.
AISD Chief of Human Capital Leslie Stephens said around 400 people who work in the district’s central office are filling in as substitutes.
Here is a snapshot of the recent need for subs:
The district has a pool of 1,400 subs, but only about 30% are actively teaching. The district is hoping to increase those numbers by offering better pay.
“We are looking at some options to increase substitute pay during these times making sure they are well compensated for the vital role they are playing,” Villa said.
Now, people with fewer than 60 college credit hours can apply to be a sub and pay is anywhere from $115-$225 per day when incentives are factored in. Substitutes are eligible for a $25 bonus per day if they cover a class when Austin-Travis County is in Stage 5 COVID-19 risk-based guidelines. If subs fill in for an entire month during Stages 4 or 5, they could be eligible for a $300 bonus.
“We know we are not the only district in our area. We know there are competing districts with competing rates,” Villa said. “So we want to be up there with our rates. We want to be up there with other districts.”