LPS looks for additional substitute teachers

Samantha Bernt on 10/11 NOW at 10
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 10:20 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Lincoln Public Schools has the same number of substitute teachers as in years past, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. As the latest COVID surge spreads across the Capital City, school officials are asking for more hands on deck. But as 10/11 NOW found out, becoming a substitute teacher is not an easy process.

Teachers have struggled as they work through the pandemic so students can learn. COVID-19 has kept teachers home to quarantine, and required the help of hundreds of substitute teachers. LPS said they are seeing more teachers out than ever amid the latest COVID-19 surge.

“Just this week we were up into the 40′s, 40% of our positions where we needed a sub,” said Eric Weber, associate superintendent for human resources. “We couldn’t fill it. and that is really really high for us, we’re normally in the teens.”

Right now, 350 teachers and staff are in quarantine. It means schools need more substitutes, but the pandemic has put a strain on that, too.

“Right now with the surge of the new variant, substitutes that we do have that could substitute might not be going into buildings for fear that they might get sick,” said Deb Rasmussen, Lincoln Education Association President. “They might already have it. so we are really struggling with the number of teachers that are going out.

“I think a lot of people don’t really realize that you can become a sub if you have a bachelor’s degree, you can become a local substitute for us, which means you can only serve in Lincoln, you could sub in LPS,” Weber said. “We’re looking for as many subs as we can.”

But the process to become a substitute teacher is a lengthy one. According to the LPS website, it is an 11-step process. That includes applying within LPS, uploading a college transcript, listing three references, completing an online interview, an orientation and going through a criminal background check.

After that, you have to go through the state to register for a $55 permit, complete your last five years of addresses, and verify that you have at least one college class related to education or children. If that all goes through, you can start the on boarding process with LPS.

“We don’t have a whole lot of control over those requirements, those are state requirements,” Weber said. “I think the state’s done a great job of relaxing the requirements to where they’re at right now.”

The Nebraska Department of Education doubled the number of days a person can substitute as a local substitute, up to 180. LPS is also offering other incentives.

“If they take every Monday in a month or if they take every Friday in a month it’s an additional $150, basically another day that we grant them,” Weber said. “If they do more than 75% of the days in a month, we grant them another day’s worth of subbing so about $150.”

In Kansas, the State Board of Education relaxed requirements, no longer requiring college credit hours. According to officials, this will unlikely happen in Nebraska.

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