Gwinnett school district adds incentives for substitute teachers

Usha Malhotia (R) gets her fingerprints taken during orientation for substitute teachers at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center in Suwanee on July 2. Gwinnett County schools are offering raises and incentives for substitutes amid a pandemic-driven shortage. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Usha Malhotia (R) gets her fingerprints taken during orientation for substitute teachers at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center in Suwanee on July 2. Gwinnett County schools are offering raises and incentives for substitutes amid a pandemic-driven shortage. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Gwinnett County Public Schools is offering a one-time incentive payment and a pay raise for substitute teachers amid a local and national shortage exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Substitutes who work at least 25 days between March 1 and May 26 will be eligible for a one-time bonus of $500 in addition to their regular pay, said Monica Batiste, associate superintendent of human resources, in a recent school board work session.

They will receive their bonus after May 26, she said.

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Effective March 1, the school district increased substitute teacher pay from $98 to $108 per day, Batiste said. Pay for extended teaching substitutes, those who spend 10 or more days in the same classroom, increased from $108 to $120 per day, Batiste said. Those rates will remain in effect for the duration of the pandemic, she said.

Before the pandemic, Gwinnett hired substitutes to cover teacher absences more than 90% of the time, but that rate dropped to 67% in the fall semester. When substitutes could not be found, schools often merged classes together or directed other employees, such as instructional coaches or clerks, to fill in.

By the middle of March, substitutes were covering classes 85% of the time, Batiste said.

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