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Seneca Valley board hikes substitute teacher pay rate

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Saturday, May 17, 2014, 7:09 p.m.
 

Seneca Valley School Board voted to increase the district's substitute teacher pay rate to $100 a day — up from $80 a day—from May 13 to June 6, the last day of class for students, in hopes that it will attract more substitute teachers.

Superintendent Tracy Vitale said the district has had a “significant shortage of daily subs” throughout the winter and spring, and it's gotten to the point that the district has had trouble finding enough substitute teachers to cover classes.

“We're calling all subs to come our way,” Vitale said.

By increasing the daily pay rate to $100 until the end of the school year, Vitale said she hopes to entice substitute teachers from other school districts.

A few years ago the district had 600 to 700 substitute teachers, Vitale said, but now it is down to about 250 districtwide subs.

When no substitute teachers are available to cover a teacher's class, regular teachers are recruited from other duties, such as planning periods or study halls. This is called an unfilled absence.

Kyra Bobak, director for human resources and pupil services, said that from August 2013 to April, there were 1,164 unfilled absences districtwide.

Since April, there have been 187 unfilled absences.

Vitale speculated that the number of subs has decreased for a few reasons, including fewer education graduates coming out of area colleges and an increase in education graduates moving into the private sector.

Vitale said officials studied daily substitute teacher pay rates at other districts and found that Seneca Valley's rate was in the middle.

Some districts, including Mars Area and Pine-Richland, offer $90 per day, while Ellwood City offered $70 and Butler Area and South Butler pay substitutes $80 a day.

The board will re-evaluate the rate in August for the 2014-15 school year to see if it can be kept at the higher level or needs to be lowered.

The superintendent warned that keeping the daily sub rate at $100 per day would be a “significant cost” to the district.

Anyone interested in becoming a substitute teacher at Seneca Valley, can visit the “Substitute and Support Staff Information” page under the Human Resources tab at www.svsd.net.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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