The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

Substitute teacher shortage persists

Concerns over fair compensation don’t help fill gap left by Covid-19
Lecturing, science teacher Marci Leuschen teaches an anatomy class. “There are more and more classrooms being covered by teachers during their plan time and not subs,” Leuschen said. (Fin Tholen)

Teacher shortages in school districts continue to rise, and USD 497 is no exception. Stemming from multiple sources, these issues force teachers and subs continue to combat these challenges on top of their regular teaching.

The most prominent issue is compensation for both teachers and subs. Many have taken specific issue with the lower pay in the USD 497 district specifically. Some, including administrative assistant Tracy Urish, have noted that surrounding districts draw in substitutes solely because of their pay.

“They can go to DeSoto, Eudora, and sometimes make $25 to $50 more per day than what they make here,” Urish said. “And it’s not very hard for them to drive to other places first.”

This lower rate of pay is only more alarming as the United States government allocates around $794.7 billion to K-12 public education.

Problems that can stem from this shortage can complicate planning for teachers as well as cause confusion in substitute teacher assignments. Theater and English teacher Craig Ruis-Fisher shared his thoughts on the difficulties of planning and getting a sub.

“More than anything, it’s just the time it takes to get a sub assigned to you,” Ruis-Fisher said. “If I put in a request for a sub months in advance, which I have done, and then that sub doesn’t get assigned until three days before it’s hard for me to make plans and communicate.”

Other than planning and lessons, the substitute teacher shortage has adverse effects on students with absent teachers. 

“I think the consistency of having their normal teacher in class helps and they get to know them. Their teacher also maybe knows some students and their habits to help them that way,” Urish said.

Some teachers commented that the shortage affects teachers more than students due to increased workload. Biology teacher Marci Leuschen believes that teachers suffer the most from the shortage.

“I think more so it’s just overworked teachers because you’re having to give up your plan time,” Leuschen said. “Now there are more and more classrooms being covered by teachers during their plan time and not subs.”

In regards to solutions, staff members gave short and long term solutions to combat the substitute teacher shortage.

“The short term solution I think is just improving the amount of pay they’re getting but also the amount of work we’re expecting from subs,” Fisher said. “Long term, we need an overhaul of the American education system, first and foremost.”

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About the Contributors
Caleb Carver, Reporter
I'm a second-year reporter on the journalism staff. Outside of journalism, I love to bike, read, and study Spanish.
Fin Tholen, Photographer
I'm a second-year photographer on the journalism staff. When I'm not taking photos, I study German and do martial arts. Last year, I won an award for my photography. If you're looking for me, you'll probably find me in room 306.
Andie Garrett, Photographer
I am a first-year photographer on the journalism staff. When I'm not taking pictures, I am on the field running cross country and track as a state qualified athlete.

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