Substitute teachers needed

Steamboat Springs School District in near 'crisis' mode


Substitute teaching

If you are interested in being a substitute teacher, contact the administrative office at the districts where you would like to teach. An application process is required in each district, and School Boards must approve all substitute applications.


Judy Siettmann, a substitute teacher for Mrs. RobertsÕ fifth-grade Strawberry Park Elementary School class, watches as students work on their assignments Wednesday.

— The Steamboat Springs School District is in dire need of substitute teachers.

"It's almost to a point of crisis," Superintendent Donna Howell said at Monday's School Board meeting.

The board approved the addition of four people to the district's substitute list, but four isn't enough to meet the district's needs.

"We are really suffering from a lack of sufficient substitutes," Howell said.

Certified substitute teachers receive $85 per day, and non-certified substitute teachers are paid $80.

The dollar amount, coupled with the fact that certified instructors are compensated on a similar level as non-certified instructors, may be the problem, board member John DeVincentis said.

"I've heard from certified substitute teachers who said they won't sub for the small amount of money they get," he said.

DeVincentis is the former principal at Strawberry Park Elementary School.

He went on to recommend the board increase substitute pay and acknowledge those certified substitute teachers by paying them more than $5 more than non-certified substitutes.

Howell said substitute teachers are not a luxury item.

They are a necessity, and she said research into attracting substitutes would be done, and she would return to the board with the financial ramifications on the budget.

Steamboat isn't the only county district with a substitute problem.

Hayden Superintendent Mike Luppes said he and other administrators have been forced to teach because of a lack of substitutes.

Hayden's paraprofessionals work to get certified in case substitute teachers are needed.

Teachers sometimes are paid extra to forgo their planning time to sub.

"We just do whatever we do to make the classes continue on," Luppes said, adding that having a substitute teacher in place is always the preferred option.

In general, both Luppes and South Routt Superintendent Kelly Reed said their substitute situation is "OK," but Reed said districts are always looking for additional substitutes.

Steamboat, Hayden and Soroco teachers occasionally attend meetings together, meaning all three schools are looking for substitutes at the same time.

The districts do have similar substitute lists.

"When all of us are trying to find subs, it's just brutal," Luppes said.

To be a substitute teacher in Colorado, a four-year college degree is required. To be a certified substitute teacher, applicants must have teaching certificates. A series of classes can be taken to gain certification.


trouter 10 years, 7 months ago

An interesting problem exists here. The substitute teacher in Steamboat suffers from a number of disadvantages. $80 a day translates into about $70 after taxes. Anyone can make more than $10 an hour washing dishes or running a lift... plus a free ski pass! Then there is the blow to self esteem that comes from feeling second rate.... "I can't get a job as a real teacher, so i will have to settle for subbing"..... (see movie "School of Rock".... Steamboat could use someone like Jack Black). Maybe not all subs feel this way, but i know some that do.
The rumor that subbing can lead to a full time position is merely a carrot that the district dangles in front of young people who aspire to teach. Realistically, one usually has to sub for at least 5 years before being considered, if even ever being considered. In fact, subbing may lessen a person's chance of getting a job. They would rather keep you as a sub once they've got you.

In addition, subs get paid once a month, midway through the month after they have worked. Sometimes subs don't get paid at all! I know of at least one sub who had a paycheck for a large sum of money withheld, 9 MONTHS AFTER the school allegedly overpaid him/her. The school district made no consessions for their alleged "error", leaving a steamboat local in a financial disaster. The particular sub was never paid. I know other subs and teachers with similar stories. Perhaps there is a deeper issue for the board to examine.

The other problem that subs face is the lack of ability to plan their life. When the phone rings at 6:30 a.m. they are expected to jump out of bed and drop whatever else they may had had going on. And there is more. But the lack of pay, the lack of respect, and the inability to count on ever getting paid at all are the most predominant.

What, may I ask, does Ms. Howell expect? Some of the money from the new football field and the remodels should have gone in the direction of this "dire need" that the district is facing. I think the existing subs should all quit. get a job as a waitress and you'll get more respect.


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