LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — "Making sure that we pay substitutes what they're worth and making sure that we provide them with training."
Chris Petley with Leon County Schools says increasing pay for substitute teachers might be next in a long-term plan to keep them working at the district. This is to make sure classrooms are covered so that teachers aren't taking care of two classrooms at once and students aren't forced to be in a class double the size.
"It doesn't get any worse when you have principals, assistant principals, and front office staff covering the classroom that's when you know there's a shortage."
Leon Classroom Teacher Association President, Scott Mazur, said it's been difficult to find substitutes across the board…
"You can imagine what it's like in our Title I schools where we need the support."
Mazur said some substitute teachers aren't accepting positions after getting qualified and aren't staying in the position once they start.
"Once they show up it's not what they expect the demands are extremely high on our public school educators."
But he said that focusing on resources, working and learning conditions, plus other long-term strategies like pay-raise is the only way educators will stay in the future. He added that COVID-19 only magnified an existing problem of getting teachers what they need. All so that students can have the best-quality education.
That's why Leon County Schools is working to hire almost 400 substitutes across their 40 schools, district-wide. On Wednesday, community members will interview at an LCS hiring event so full-time teachers who need time off from work have somewhere to turn.
"Substitutes are really the lifeblood of our school system and we're excited to have the feedback from our community to have so many people interested in becoming a sub," said Petley.
The qualifications to become a substitute are a high school diploma, background check, and completion of a school district training course.
LCS leaders will decide if they'll host another hiring event in the future. If they do, they'll make sure the community knows where to sign up.