WUFT News

Substitute Teachers Expected to be Hired Full Time

By and on January 9th, 2014

Marion County Public Schools are expected to hire about 100 permanent substitutes as full-time teachers.

In an effort to cut spending, the school district started hiring first-time teachers as permanent substitutes beginning in 2008. These substitutes were paid $100 per day, but they did not enjoy the perks associated with being full-time teachers, such as health benefits, according to Dr. R. Craig Ham, executive director of the Marion Education Association (MEA), a teachers union.

In February 2013, the MEA filed a complaint with the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission regarding the lack of pay and health benefits for permanent substitutes. A hearing officer dismissed the ruling at the end of June, but the whole commission ruled in favor of the MEA on Oct. 28, 2013.

“We anticipate if all the teachers, or many of the teachers [of substitute teachers] want to continue on a full-time capacity, it could cost upwards of $500,000,” said Kevin Christian, the public relations and communication officer for Marion County. “That’s certainly a significant amount of money. We’ll just have to look for it in the budget; we’ll have to cut back in other areas even more than we already have to allocate funds for them.”

Marion County Public Schools are operating at a level exceeding capacity, but Christian said this was done to save the district money. He said the fine for having overcrowded classes was less than what it would cost to hire additional teachers. Christian said that this tactic saved the district between $6 and $7 million.

Instead of saving money, the school district’s cuts have added to costs, according to Dr. Ham.

“You cannot merely retitle a teacher as a substitute and pay them less,” he said. “The district now will have to pay more money because they’re replacing these substitutes with real teachers.”

Currently, the district has about 100 permanent substitutes. Christian said he thinks most, but not all, will be hired as full-time instructors. Ham said that some may not be qualified to be hired.

“When they hire a regular teacher, those teachers have to be certified and highly qualified,” Ham said.  “Certified under the state and highly qualified under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which most people refer to as No Child Left Behind. Some of these people weren’t even able to get certified because they didn’t have a bachelor’s degree in a teachable subject.”

While the school district will have to spend more money to hire the substitutes, Christian said the cost is a part of education.

“The positive would be that we’re going to have fully certified full-time teachers in those capacities. The downside is it’s going to cost the district additional dollars, which are additional taxpayer dollars,” he said.

The school district plans to make the hires by Jan. 16.

Virginia Hamrick and Melissa Walpole contributed reporting.


This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

DSC_0319

Scott Plans To Reduce Standardized Testing Statewide

An executive action to be issued by Governor Scott would reduce the number of tests Florida students are required to take. Subsequent legislation would eliminate progress-monitoring requirements, make certain exams optional and reassess how to evaluate teachers in public schools.


Marion County Teacher Speaks Out Against FSA Test

Ocala elementary school teacher Jeanelle Wellhoner apologized Sunday in an open letter in the Ocala Star-Banner. She said her students would fail due to the teaching styles advocated by Common Core.


infographic

High School Students Choosing High-Level Courses Over Electives

High school students like Taylor Christian choose to enroll in higher-level classes over elective courses to attract future college admission officers. This change in enrollment has resulted in fewer elective class periods for students to choose from.


Sue Legg, the chair of the Florida Project on School Choice for the League of Women

Voters of Alachua County, attends the Florida statewide education team caucus in 

Tallahassee. Legg operates the LWV education blog where she provides readers 

with resources regarding pertinent legislation.

Scott’s Education Budget Raises Concerns Over For-Profit Charter Schools

Gov. Rick Scott’s 2015-2016 “Keep Florida Working” budget has Alachua County public school educators voicing concerns over the distribution of funds allotted to for-profit charter schools. Under his budget, charter schools receive about $125,000 more per school than their public school counterparts.


[FILE] A file photograph showing an American Flag and empty student desks inside an Atlanta, Georgia school.

Florida Students Unable To Opt Out Of Standardized Testing

Excessive standardized tests have driven parents and school board members across the state to speak out. Opposition groups are pressuring legislators to change the testing policies.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments