LPS struggles to find fill-ins despite higher sub numbers
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - When it comes to substitute teachers, there are hundreds more potentially on tap compared to just last year, but when they’re needed, it isn’t always easy to find one.
LPS said even with a larger pool of substitute teachers to pick from, some subs are not taking jobs when they’re called.
Amy Broeker is a second grade teacher at Roper Elementary School. She said teachers are struggling to cover their own classes as well as help others.
“It really puts them in a bind, because they didn’t get their plan periods to, you know, call a parent, enter data for grades, or just plan for the next day’s lessons,” Broeker said.
LPS said the district has about 200 more substitute teachers than last school year, bringing the total to 837. But, only about 75% of jobs are actually getting filed by subs. LPS said they can’t pinpoint the specific reasons for subs not taking jobs 25% of the time, but the Lincoln teachers union has a few ideas.
“Some just don’t like certain age levels and some have decided that they’ve had a bad experience in a building so they won’t go back,” said Deb Rasmussen, president of the Lincoln Education Association. “...I’ve had a couple people tell me ‘I only sub in this building.’”
Broeker said when a sub doesn’t take a job, it’s mostly specialist teachers, including teachers who teach P.E., art and music who help out. Teachers like Broeker help now and then, and she tries not to add to the problem.
“I try not to be absent,” Broeker said. “But you know, we can’t always plan for an illness.”
LPS says this gap impacts all levels of staffing.
“It does put pressure on our other teachers, it puts pressure on our administration, and others in the building that have to pick up those classes,” said LPS associate superintendent for human resources, Eric Weber.
Weber said they have implemented bonuses for substitutes who cover classrooms on Mondays or Fridays throughout the school year, or 75% of days needing coverage for a specific month.
“We want them, they’re a critical, critical employee group for our for our district,” Weber said.
Copyright 2022 KOLN. All rights reserved.