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School district facing sub shortage

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO The Marshalltown Community School District is seeking people to work as substitute teachers. The district only has around 50 subs this year.

The Marshalltown Community School District is facing a substitute teacher shortage.

Human Resources Director Nora Ryan said the district has roughly 50 substitutes. She said that is less than the 72 subs last year, which was not nearly enough. MCSD rarely advertises open positions, but for this, Ryan said they are.

“We are really, really hoping to find a lot of substitutes,” she said.

Ryan said every single day during the 2019-20 school year, the district was short-staffed. Last year, the district used an average of 19 subs per day.

She told the Marshalltown Community School Board at their Monday meeting when instructors are absent, other teachers in their prep periods, media specialists and certified staff are pulled from their duties to cover.

“That causes a lot of stress,” she said. “And that was at 72 subs last year. This year we have barely 50.”

The district sent letters to all of the substitute teachers, asking if they intended to return again, and received a lot of “no” responses.

With the added aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan said the district needs people. She said due to COVID-19, the state, on July 17, relaxed the requirements people need to meet to serve as substitute teachers.

“Before you had to have a four-year degree and you had to take a substitute authorization course,” Ryan said. “Now, instead of a bachelor’s degree, you need 60 college credits.”

She said the cost to take the course is $100 and can be completed in one week. The state also lowered the required age of a sub to 20 and lifted restrictions on the number of days a person could serve as a substitute in a 30-day period.

However, the authorization course still needs to be completed.

Ryan said the daily pay for substitutes has been increased to $120. Last year, substitutes earned $115 per day. Long-term substitutes will earn $175.02 per day.

Marshalltown is not the only district in the state dealing with a sub shortage. Other districts include Des Moines Public Schools and the Boone Community School District,

“It’s a common theme,” Ryan said. “The need for substitutes and paraeducators is consistent across the state, in every district.”

In addition to the need for substitutes, she said the district is seeking applicants for athletics and activities positions, custodial staff, secretaries, food service workers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers and more.

People interested in working for the Marshalltown Community School District can view the listings at teachiowa.gov.

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Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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