MERIDIAN, Idaho — School districts across Idaho are canceling class in response to high rates of student and staff absences due to illnesses such as COVID-19 and the flu.
Staffing shortages continue to be a recurring challenge -- and for school districts like West Ada that are committed to remining open, substitute teachers are a valuable asset, according to West Ada School District Chief Academic Officer Marcus Myers.
"The last thing we want to do is close a school down and shift to remote learning at this time. We want students there in the building, ready to learn, with their teacher," Myers said.
West Ada substitutes make between $80 and $90 a day, depending on certification status. The district is now temporarily bumping those wages for subs willing to fill in for the majority of the week.
A substitute working four days in one week will receive time-and-a-half pay. A substitute working all five days in the school week receives twice the usual pay. This temporary incentive lasts until Feb. 25th.
"You know, we're willing to recognize this is a need. And we're willing to put the dollars behind it to support those folks that are willing step into the building and help us with that," Myers said.
West Ada isn't alone on this front.
The Kuna School District increased substitute pay twice in the past year according to Kuna Assistant Superintendent David Reinhart. Kuna subs currently make $90 a day, but Kuna is also playing into the temporary incentive game.
Any substitute filling in on Monday or Friday will now make $120 in the Kuna School District. This incentive lasts until Feb. 15th.
"Because those are our hardest days to fill. Because so many of them, like all of us, like a three-day weekend," Reinhart said. "It's been a challenge every day I would say."
Both the Kuna School District and the West Ada School District encourage anyone looking for work to consider filling out and application on their website.
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