PANAMA CITY BEACH - Earlier this week, Bay County school board members took steps to attract higher quality substitute teachers. The district currently has a pool of about 300 subs to choose from, but they need several more.
Retired teacher Deby Davison is back in the classroom, teaching fractions to Breakfast Point Academy third graders. She's been substitute teaching for the last 7 years.
"I love teaching, but teaching on a part time basis is what I love best, now that I have a family," she said.
Davison is considered a reliable long term substitute.
"I am probably very well known for covering maternity leaves. I have kind of lost count of how many I've done," said Davison.
Subs like Davison are uncommon. District officials say they have about 150 consistent substitute teachers, but they say need about 50 more to fill these classrooms.
In some cases, the district has had to scramble to find subs.
"The flu epidemic was going on last year and everybody was sick. We needed 240 subs that day and we were about 40 short, so that was huge and very difficult for us as a district," said Sharon Michalik, Executive Director of Human Resources for Bay District Schools.
Currently subs are paid an hourly rate depending on what degree they've earned and that's part of the problem.
"It's not the best paying job in the world. It's not necessarily something that's going to pay the bills for a family of four," said Michalik.
Tuesday, board members approved a bonus program. Substitutes who work at least 100 hours in a 9 week period will earn an extra $150. Those that work more than 150 hours an earn a $250.
District officials estimate about 140 teachers will need substitutes on Friday.