District 220 authorizes temporary pay hike for substitutes as COVID surges
Barrington Area Unit District 220 has authorized its superintendent to increase the pay for substitute teachers to help ensure there are enough educators for each classroom.
"The most pressing concern is staffing and our ability to staff and keep our teachers healthy ... so we can be able to open school every single day," Superintendent Robert Hunt said during this week's school board meeting.
Hunt asked to raise substitutes' pay from $110 per day to $135.
"If we look at how we compare to other districts, I would say we're on the low side of that range paying $110. It goes as high as $175," he said.
Hunt said more teachers have been out because of COVID-19 following winter break.
"We had a significant number of absences coming into the week," he said.
To keep the students in school, Hunt said, the district has "instituted as many creative options as possible," including splitting up classes and allowing teachers who are at home but not symptomatic to teach virtually.
The increase in substitute pay is "one more tool to help us staff and keep students in school," he said.
"We would obviously come back to the board and have any conversations about anything more long term," he added.
The increase will be covered by federal pandemic relief funding.
"The reality is if the primary goal is to stay in school, keeping available staff right now, during this surge, I think is critically important," Hunt said.
The board agreed to give Hunt authority to implement the temporary pay increase, though the new rate has not yet been implemented.
"It's certainly important to have enough substitute teachers," board member Erin Chan Ding said. "That's a way to make sure we have them."