District 204 increasing pay rate for substitute teachers

To address a continuing shortage of substitute teachers heading into the new school year, Indian Prairie Unit District 204 is increasing the daily pay rate for subs.

The school board this week approved the pay raise from $100 to $115 a day to stay competitive with the rates in surrounding districts. In Naperville Unit District 203, for example, the daily pay rate for subs is $110.

The rate increase is the district's first in three years, according to Assistant Superintendent Louis Lee.

"We are in dire need of more substitutes," said IPSD 204 Superintendent Adrian Talley. "This, again, is a national shortage. Without substitute coverage, we would not be able to do the things that need to happen in our schools."

Last spring, officials said there were fewer than 600 substitute teachers in the district. With 2,000 licensed teachers and the desire for a 2-1 ratio with subs, District 204 ideally would have 1,000 substitute teachers.

According to a 2021 study by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, 96% of surveyed school districts believe they have a substitute teaching shortage and 90% expect the shortage to worsen.

To help plug the holes and draw attention to the shortage, board President Laurie Donahue about six months ago signed up to be a substitute teacher after receiving approval from her colleagues. Last month, board member Allison Fosdick also received approval to earn up to $1,000 as a substitute teacher for the 2022-23 school year.

This week's vote to increase the pay rate for subs was unanimous, with Donahue and Fosdick abstaining. The daily pay rate for dedicated building subs in the district will be $175, while retired district teachers and long-term substitutes will be paid $270 per day.

District 204 is the state's fourth-largest school district. Its schools serve 26,000 students in Aurora, Bolingbrook, Naperville and Plainfield.

"The challenge in getting substitutes in our district continues to be something that we face year to year," Lee said. "We believe this increase ... will allow us to remain competitive with our neighboring districts that are in the immediate area."

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