The Marion County School District can no longer replace full-time teachers with certified substitutes.
The Florida Public Employees Relations Commission released an 18-page ruling on Monday, calling for the district to “cease and desist” from hiring any more substitute teachers to fill empty positions.
The ruling also stated that the school district must pay the Marion Education Association’s attorney fees in regard to this case.
After the case was dismissed in June, Marion Education Association — a local teacher’s union — appealed the decision, causing the PERC to hear the case for a second time in August.
“The vast majority of substitute teachers are certified and highly qualified for the position and should be given a regular contract and elevated to the pay of a regular teacher,” said Craig Ham, executive director of Marion Education Association.
The full-time substitutes were performing all of the expected duties of a full-time teacher, without receiving the benefits.
In September, the Marion County School Board voted to give substitute teachers health insurance and a pay increase – still leaving the substitutes with $10,000 less than that of a full-time, first year teacher.
Once the ruling goes into effect, substitute teachers could potentially keep the same position they are currently in.
“The only difference would be they are going to treat them correctly as a teacher, rather than call them a substitute, underpay them and not give them all the benefits,” Ham said.