ELK MOUND, Wis. (WEAU) - Area school districts said a combination of warmer weather, a stronger economy and class schedules have made finding substitute teachers a challenge.
“When you call subs on the spur of the moment, you have teacher out sick and they call in at 6:00 in the morning, sometimes, it's hard to it's difficult to find subs on short notice,” Elk Mound High School Principal Paul Weber said.
“On occasion, we're forced to cover our classes from within, using our staff members, who give up their prep periods to help their other staff members out.”
A lack of substitute teachers is a problem for several schools including Elk Mound, Eau Claire Regis and Jim Falls.
“Right now there doesn't seem to be a pool of people interested in substitute teaching. My experience has proven that if the economy is pretty good, you seem to have a shortage. During this time of year it's kind of compounded. The weather is nice and I believe the golf courses are opening up. A lot of people have other interests,” Regis President Mark Gobler said.
There's competition between districts.
“I think subs want to go obviously where they receive a decent rate of pay, but also it comes down to whether or not they feel comfortable in that district,” Weber said.
“We substitute teachers we used to hire, in my old school district, for about $85 a day. They could go just down the border to the cities and get about $160,” Gobler said.
Weber said having a dependable few is important to keep students learning, without a day off.
“We rely on certain people we know can trust, we know are professional, we know that are going to follow through on the teacher's lesson plans for that day and can improvise when necessary,” Weber said.
“When the teacher does return hopefully they can pick up where substitute left off,” Gobler said.
Weber said when contacting subs, he's had more luck reaching teachers by texting rather than making phone calls.