December 14, 2021 Announcements

Sioux City school board approves plan to stem substitute teacher shortage

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SIOUX CITY — The Sioux City Community School Board voted unanimously Monday night to approve a plan to recruit and retain more substitute teachers.

Superintendent Paul Gausman had previously said the district’s shortage of substitute teachers had reached a crisis level.

During a normal year, the district would fill between 80 to 90 percent of teacher absences. More recently, administrators have only been able to fill 70 to 80 percent of the absences.

To close this gap, the district would have to increase its roster of substitutes by more than 100.

In order to bridge the gap, a full-time human resources person, devoted solely to staffing substitutes, will be hired for a $45,000 annual salary, plus benefits.

Currently, Sioux City pays its substitute on a three-tier pay scale. Effective Jan. 2, 2022, they will receive a pay increase.

A substitute who works between one and 20 days, will receive $140 per day, an increase of $25. A tier two substitute, who works between 21 to 50 days, will receive $180 per day, a $45 increase. A tier three substitute, working more than 51 days, will receive $210 a day, a $30 increase.

According to Board President Dan Greenwell, this increase will allow Sioux City to pay more than metro school districts like Dakota Valley and South Sioux City while equaling Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s pay in two of the three tiers.

In addition, long-term substitutes will be paid at a higher pay rate. Retired Sioux City Community School District teachers will automatically start at a higher pay rate, regardless of the number of days they work as a substitute.

A one-time $100 bonus would be given to a substitute teacher after 10 consecutive substitution jobs. A $100 bonus would also be given to any employee who refers a teacher who subs for 10 consecutive jobs.

A permanent substitute teacher, to be hired under the plan, will be given an annual salary of $37,201.

Jen Gomez, the district’s human resources director, said the district could begin the process of getting the word out as soon as possible. This pleased Greenwell, who thought the increased compensation would help attract teachers who would be graduating from college at the end of 2021.

However, Gausman said the shortfall of available substitute teachers will require an all-hands-on-deck philosophy.

That meant downtown administrative personnel, consulting teachers, principals, assistant principals, and other staff will need to substitute teach when needed.

“This is something that 80 percent of our employees have already been doing,” Gausman said.

In other news, the board decided to continue to support Perry Creek, Nodland, and Sunnyside Elementary Schools in their candidacy to become International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools.

Board director Jan George had previously voiced concerns about the benefit of the program.

“I didn’t have enough information before,” he said. “After seeing the program in action at Perry Creek, I can see how students are benefiting from the curriculum.”

View the full article by Early Horlyk on the Sioux City Journal.