It’s well known that there is a teacher shortage across the country, but a symptom of that problem means not having enough substitute teachers available either.

“When we are unable to secure substitute teachers, then what that forces us to do is either put teachers during their prep period into classrooms, principals instead of leaving the building are subbing,” said Meridian CUSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. PJ Caposey. “Some cases we’re even forced to combine classes.”

In an effort to address the issue, the Meridian School Board voted to raise substitute teacher pay. The school district says on average it has about four to six teachers out every day. The daily pay rate will increase to $105 dollars from $100 to stay competitive among other local districts.

“We’re all kind of using the same pool of teachers,” said Caposey. “At times, it just gets really, really sparse.”

At RPS 205, a substitute teacher can make anywhere from $100-180 a day, depending on experience. In Belvidere, subs make $85 for a full day. At Harlem schools, the daily rate is $100-115, also depending on experience.

“When we have people come, we want to make people feel welcome,” said Harlem School District 122 Associate Principal Jeremy Bois. “We want to make them feel appreciated. We want to make sure our students make them feel appreciated and our colleagues. That’s part of it too. We want to make sure the people enjoy it when they’re here.”

For both school districts, retired teachers are the ideal option.

Meridian 223 says the problem isn’t retaining new subs but getting them to the small town district in the first place.

“If they were left plans that made sense for them,” said Caposey. “So, they could execute the game plan that the teacher left for them. Our teachers are very good and diligent at that. The second thing is our kids are good kids. There’s no discipline issues.”

“When we have subs who have built those relationships with kids and with staff, for our teachers to be able to stay at home with their children, or take care of themselves and not have to worry about what’s going on in the classroom is really, really nice,” said Bois.

To become a substitute teacher for Meridian CUSD please contact the Regional Office of Education at (815) 625-1495 for additional information.

For Harlem School District 122, contact Rachel Freeman at 815-654-4500.