ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A big effort is underway to donate to local teachers after a substitute teacher shortage is forcing them to cover extra classes.

In Round Rock Independent School District, a spokesperson says like many districts in the state, RRISD is experiencing a shortage of substitute teachers, and a smaller percentage of those substitutes are accepting jobs. Because of that, teachers have been asked at times to cover classes.

Several Parent Teacher Associations in the district, as well as the Partners in Education Foundation, have been donating $25 gift cards as a thank you to teachers who are helping out. The district says teachers have appreciated this.

Teachers who emailed KXAN say they appreciate the gesture but want to know why the district isn’t compensating them.

“I think it’s really nice of them to think of us in that way, but I think the district should be compensating the teachers for their time. Teachers should volunteer to work those hours for compensation,” one teacher told KXAN anonymously.

We do not ask teachers to cover a class when it would conflict with their required planning time. In Round Rock ISD, secondary teachers have beyond the required planning time built into their schedule. In necessary circumstances, a teacher may be asked to give up some of that additional planning time to cover a class. The state does not allow teachers to be paid additionally for assuming teaching duties during that time, because it would be considered ‘double-dipping.’ In other words, teachers are already being compensated for that time, whether it is used for planning or teaching.

– RRISD spokesperson

The district says state law dictates that teachers have to get 450 minutes of planning time every two weeks.

In Round Rock ISD, district leaders built 900 minutes of planning time into most secondary teachers’ schedules. The district says, if absolutely necessary, teachers can be asked to cover classes as long as those duties do not result in the teacher having less than 450 minutes of planning time in a two-week period.

Round Rock ISD Partners in Education Foundation 

The RRISD Partners in Education Foundation says it is providing appreciation incentives in the form of thank you gift cards, free coffee coupons and small giveaways for principals to provide to guest educators and teachers.

“We encourage that anyone who would like to spread the ‘appreciation’ to our wonderful  teachers and guest educators to feel free to donate by visiting our website at and note ‘thank you’ in the ‘other’ section. Donations will allow the Foundation to provide additional signs of appreciation to all campuses,” Executive Director of the Partners in Education Foundation Marianne Reap said in a statement to KXAN.