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Berkeley Co. Schools votes to allot $1.5M in federal funds to increase pay for substitute teachers

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:19 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 4:09 AM EST
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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) -The Berkeley County School Board has voted unanimously to allot $1.5 million to increase the pay for substitute teachers in the district to help fill positions amid recent staffing shortages.

The vote came after an hour-long meeting at district headquarters in Moncks Corner, Tuesday night.

“All of our schools are being affected by the need for substitute teachers because of a surge in the COVID numbers,” Dr. Karen Whitley, the district’s chief human resources officer, said.

Last Thursday, the district announced four schools would switch to online learning temporarily due to staffing concerns.

Officials shared during the meeting that over 71% of staff members who called out on Tuesday in the district’s schools were because of a COVID-related absence.

The district also said 130 classes across the district had to be covered by internal staff on Tuesday.

Dr. Natasha Wright, the Director of Human Resources for Berkeley County Schools, said that she and other staff members have been covering for classes because of a recent shortage of staff members.

“I, myself, have been out to schools,” Wright said. “It’s been an all hands on deck kind of thing. I know we’ve had several coordinators, several staff members in general from all different departments to go out and cover classes.”

To help bring in more substitute teachers, the district will use $1.5 million in coronavirus relief funds from the federal government to pay for the wage increase through May 31st.

Noncertified teaching assistants will get a bump in pay from $10 per hour to $15 per hour, and at the high-end, a long-term certified substitute teacher will now make $200 per day versus $150 per day. A full breakdown can be found down below.

Whitley said keeping students safe, supervised and in the classroom is the reason behind raising the pay of substitute teachers.

“When you have a large number of folks absent, then you’re pulling folks from other duties from the school and also from the district level,” she said.

Whitley also said that if the district remains competitive with its pay, then that will make more substitute teachers come to work in the district.

Below is a full list of the updated pay raises:

  • Non-certified teaching assistant: $10 per hour to $15 per hour.
  • Certified teaching assistant: $14 per hour to $15 per hour.
  • Teacher with high school diploma: $80 per day to $130 per day.
  • Teacher with 60 college credits: $100 per day to $150 per day.
  • Certified teacher: $112 per day to $175 per day.
  • Long-term non-certified teacher assistant: $12 per hour to $17 per hour.
  • Long-term certified teacher assistant: Remains at $20 per hour (may be subject to change).
  • Long-term teacher with high school diploma: $112 per day to $150 per day.
  • Long-term teacher with 60 college credits: $112 per day to $175 per day.
  • Long-term certified teacher (not tied to a vacancy): $150 per day to $200 per day.

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