Bay District Schools experiencing substitute teacher shortage

BDS Sub Incentive Plan Workshop
Published: Jul. 11, 2023 at 10:43 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bay District Schools is working to hire more substitute teachers.

The shortage dates back to at least 2020 during the covid-19 pandemic.

In a memo to board members Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt wrote the following: “The District is still experiencing a severe substitute shortage. Over the last few years, our district has experienced traumatic events that have had social and economic impacts on our community. The lack of substitutes has made it difficult to continue the daily business of educating students. Teachers are hesitant to stay home when sick or attend professional development because there are no substitutes to cover the classroom. In order to improve the daily substitute fill rate, a Substitute Incentive Plan was implemented in 2020, and we are asking that you continue this plan for the 2023-2024 school year. The funds will be paid from the ESSER III Grant.”

During Tuesday’s school board meeting board members decided to hold off on the vote for the Substitute Incentive Plan, choosing instead to make the decision during the next school board meeting.

The news comes as the school district is also exploring a potential partnership with education staffing and management solutions company ESS, which would assist in helping obtain the necessary substitute teachers. Tuesday morning a workshop took place at the Nelson building where the company made its pitch. ESS is offering a kickstart program that includes covering background checks and screenings for potential candidates, weekly pay and a hundred-dollar incentive bonus for recommendations.

Bay District Schools Human Resources Executive Director Holly Buchanan says this is just one option to help get the team back on track.

“Over the last several years we have experienced a sub shortage in the classroom and on a daily basis,” Buchanan said. “We’re only filling about 78 percent of the vacancies and so working with this company and partnering with this company they have a more comprehensive support plan to be able to recruit and support and retain the substitutes to provide training for them and we are hoping to increase our daily substitute rate to at least a 90 percent fill rate.”

The HR director says typically the district is short-staffed about 40 substitutes daily, so the goal is to hire about 100 new substitutes.

To apply for a substitute position, click here.

Board members have yet to decide whether they will partner with ESS. A vote on the Substitute Incentive Plan is expected to be made on July 25th.