Both the Gainesville City School System and the Hall County School District have openings for substitute teachers; however, the lingering coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult to find applicants.
Last week, the Gainesville School Board heard a proposal to offer incentives for substitute teachers who work multiple days. Superintendent Jeremy Williams said he knows Gainesville is competing with Hall County and other school districts, as well, to keep the substitute teacher pool viable during an unusual school year.
"When COVID hit...we did notice a pretty decent drop-off," Williams said . "Twenty to 25 percent of our substitutes are no longer with us. Some of those are retired teachers who don't feel comfortable coming back into the building; others just aren't ready to step back into schools yet."
Williams said he and his fellow administrators decided the best way to keep the substitutes they have - and perhaps attract others - would be to offer bonuses to those subs who work multiple days per month.
"It'll come out to about five to 10 dollars per day on top of our current pay, which is the highest in the area," Williams said.
Current pay for substitutes in Gainesville City Schools is $85 per day for non-certified teachers, $115 per day for those who are certified and $140 per day for long-term certified subs. The proposed bonuses, which will get a final vote on Nov. 2, are $50 for subs working five to nine days, $100 for those working 10-14 days, $150 for those working 14-19 days and $200 for any sub working 20 days or more.
The Hall County School District Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Dr. Brad Brown said he and other district officials knew there would be some challenges well before the start of the school year with maintaining an adequate list of substitute teachers.
"We began conversations months ago expressing concerns about having enough substitutes during the pandemic," Brown said.
Hall County developed a pool of what they call priority substitutes - people who have prior experience working in the school system. They are familiar with the teachers and teaching practices in a given school and they come to work one or more days a week on a regular basis, ready to step in should they be needed.
For now, Hall County has not developed a monetary bonus plan to attract additional subs.
"Adding priority substitutes has helped; however, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to attract quality substitutes and it may be something that we visit down the road," Brown said.
Follow the links below for more information on becoming a substitute teacher: