Substitute Shortage Eases

After a difficult first semester, Central’s substitute shortage appears to have eased.

By James Parr

As the school year moves to its last three months, the substitution shortage at Central High School is showing some improvement, particularly as the flu season is winding down and community Covid numbers are dropping.

During the first semester, the shortage was at an all-time high with administrators even stepping in to cover classes. “We still have a few openings every day but it wasn’t six or seven like last year,” said Ms. Molly Boehler, an English teacher at Central High School. “So we have gotten quite a bit of encouragement from administration to help. I’ve seen admin cover other classes.”

What led to the severe problem?

“I would say there are less community members involved in substitute teaching,” said Boehler, “but with its being flu season, there was a lot of sickness going around in the educators, and the sub situation is just exponentially worse because there are less people to do it.”

Rapid City Area Schools promotes substitute positions on their website stating, “It takes a village.” Hourly substitute rates have been increased to $12.50 per hour, up from $11.25. The daily pay rate for retired RCAS teachers rose to $150 from $115 as well as substitutes with current and lapsed teaching certificates. Daily rates of substitutes with at least a bachelor’s degree pay $117. Substitutes with bachelor’s degrees previously earned $90 per day. Sub fill rates have improved since the RCAS Board of Education approved salary increases.

The difficult hiring situation was grim for a time, but because of other teachers stepping up to the plate and administration covering what they could with their extra time the worst is now over. The substitution shortage still continues, but with continued progress toward positive changes, there are building blocks in place to address substitution needs in the longer term.

Image: Empty Class Room by Karen Apricot on Flickr