Even after years of downsizing and employee layoffs, Toledo Public Schools has trouble finding substitute teachers, the district's top union official said.
Francine Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers union, told the district's Board of Education that a reduction in the number of substitutes has put increased stress on teachers and even some principals who teach classes.
During the first week of December, the district had 182 substitutes, compared to 236 for the same period last year, she said.
As of mid-October, the district had 241 substitutes, compared to 393 for the same period last year.
"Teachers can voluntarily take some or all of a colleague's students, but then the learning of all students is compromised," Ms. Lawrence said. "We have
50 to 75 classes sometimes not covered, and we have an application pile of 50 people so it is the human resources office that is totally inefficient."
Carol Thomas, executive assistant to the superintendent for human resources, said the district does a lot of recruiting. It just recently had an orientation for 37 new substitute teachers.
"The problem is, we have to offer them substitute wages, but they can go to other school systems and get a regular teaching contract," he said.
Toledo Public daily substitutes who do not specify limitations on days of the week or what school they will go to are paid $90.49 a day. A substitute who limits days or schools is paid $79.09 a day
Helen Sallee, principal of Old West End Academy, said it's often difficult to get a qualified substitute and that she ends up covering classes.
"I know they are in the process of trying to hire more people and we desperately need them," Ms. Sallee said. "I have to run the gamut because there are many days I come in and have not been able to do what I thought I could because there is a class that needs to be covered."
Other school districts reported some difficulty in finding substitutes, but not to a great degree.
"We have been really fortunate that we have not had a real shortage of substitutes this year," said Kathryn Hott, assistant superintendent of Springfield Local Schools. "We do have occasions when we have been short, but it doesn't happen very often.
Greg Clark, superintendent of Northwood Local Schools, said the district uses the Wood County Educational Service Center for its pool of substitutes.
"Sometimes there are challenges getting teachers in classrooms, but I am not aware we weren't able to find someone this year," Mr. Clark said.
Springfield Local pays $85 a day, and Northwood, $75 a day.
Contact Ignazio Messina at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6171.