HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) —If a teacher calls out sick a substitute steps in, but what if a sub isn’t available?
That’s one issue Hays Consolidated Independent School District is dealing with as they are making a desperate call for help.
“We are struggling with finding subs to cover classrooms,” said Marivel Sedillo, Hays CISD human resources officer.
Tabitha Krauss has been a sub for five years and has always enjoyed helping when she is needed. This year, she says, she has been very busy.
“I was called in the first week of school and have had to cover a lot of classes,” Krauss said.
This year though, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, substitute teaching is almost full-time work, and that’s part of why the district is actively looking for more subs. The other part is the substitute pool is much smaller than it usually is.
“We have had a healthy sub pool of 600 substitutes that were available to cover classrooms on any day,” Sedillo said. “This past year we are at about 200-230 subs.”
Most of the district’s subs in the past have been retired teachers, those most at risk of severe complications if they get COVID-19.
“Many are not returning to serve as guest teachers,” Sedillo said.
The district raised the base substitute pay from $95 a day to $100. Those more qualified can make more, but the district worries numbers are way too low, especially as more students head back to campus.
“We will definitely be challenged by not having enough subs when we start getting more and more students back in person,” Sedillo said.
The district also is working on a play to compensate teachers who have to cover extra classes or even teach split classes to incentivize them to pick up more students. They are still working on those details.
If you are interested in becoming a substitute teacher in Hays CISD, more information is on the district website.