A bill to find a solution for the substitute shortages

DELAWARE – A bill in Delaware is addressing an ongoing issue many school systems have been dealing with for years, shortages of substitute teachers, and House Bill 315 seeks a more permanent solution.

Many school districts struggled to hire substitute teachers over the past few years due to per-diem pay rates, unpredictable schedules, and inadequate training.
HB 315 would provide funding for schools to hire up to two full-time substitute teachers for the next school year.

Schools are one of the many facilities that had to make major adjustments during the pandemic, and one of the challenges many school districts ran into was having enough substitutes to fill in, and carry on the mission of educating. “But this shows that’s not the only model and there are subs really need to be part of the school community in the school culture and make it into a profession,” says Senator Laura Sturgeon, one of the sponsors of House Bill 315.

Fourth-grade teacher and President of the Delaware State Education Association, Stephanie Ingram tells us, school districts ran into a lot of problems even before the health crisis. “So that shortage was kind of causing just major stressors and then just, it’s a domino effect,” says Ingram. That’s why Ingram worked closely with bill sponsors to find a viable solution.

These substitute teachers would get the same training and benefits a teacher would get and have a more permanent place in their school district, and have the ability to even move forward in their career. “I think this gives substitutes are folks who are wanting to be substituted, a great way to get a great start, and then eventually get a foot in the door as a permanent educator,” says Ingram. Sen. Sturgeon adds, “And we were looking for ways to bring more stability to a profession that filled an important need during the pandemic.”

Sen. Sturgeon also says this could create mutual respect between students and teachers to have a more permanent figure in the classroom. “You know that authority that’s very hard for a sub to establish, I think that’s the key and get the lesson going.”

Ingram also tells us, the work between legislators and educators shows just how important education is, and will continue to be with bills like this one on the forefront, benefiting students; the future minds of the world.

Sen. Sturgeon says schools are always in need of help throughout the day, so constituents can be assured these substitutes would always have work.

The bill was heard Thursday, March 3rd and currently sits in House Education Committee, a hearing will take place within twelve legislative days.

Categories: Delaware, Education, Local News