No Substitutions | District works to address substitute teacher shortage 

Emma Alderman | editor in chief

USD 329 administration have set forward plans to try to help encourage substitute teachers and other classified staff ( food workers, bus drivers, etc,) to continue working at Wabaunsee. 

“We’ve been investigating what other schools in the area are paying substitutes to make sure that pay stays competitive. We’ve also implemented a salary schedule similar to that of the teachers to ensure that as substitutes and other classified workers gain more responsibilities their pay reflects that,” said superintendent Brad Starnes. 

Wabaunsee isn’t the only district facing a labor shortage this year, as school districts across the state have been having difficulties filling positions. A recent KSN story showed that schools in Wichita, Haysville, Great Bend and many other districts are also running into similar issues. 

Wabaunsee High School has had to resort to some creative solutions to supervise students when teachers are gone and substitutes are unavailable. The secretaries at WHS start each day with a spreadsheet showing what teachers are absent and which substitutes are available to cover for them. During hours that there are no substitutes available to cover a class they resort to one of two options. If there is a teacher who has their plan period that hour then they are asked if they’re willing to cover the class. The other option is to send the class to the library and either the librarian, one of the secretaries or principal Jan Hutley watches them. “Ultimately I love any opportunity to spend time directly with students but at the same time I have other duties that I still have to do such as observing classrooms,” Hutley said. 

“Especially towards the end of the school year it seems like students spend a lot of time in the library and I always feel like I’m falling behind in classes.” 

senior Celia Emmert

While the secretaries and administration have done a good job at getting classes covered. It’s not ideal for students to be spending large amounts of time when teachers are absent, in the spring especially, sitting in the library. 

“Especially towards the end of the school year it seems like students spend a lot of time in the library and I always feel like I’m falling behind in classes,” senior Celia Emmert said. 

The shortage of substitute teachers doesn’t just affect students though. For some teachers, such as history teacher Jess Rutledge it doesn’t matter who is watching their classes or where their classes are being kept but for others it is an important factor in deciding what sub plans to leave. 

“I have to plan for the possibility that my students might be in a different classroom when I’m gone and maybe that teacher is already watching another one. Therefore I definitely can’t leave plans for any labs that day,” said FCS teacher Diane Breiner. 

This issue has also created some unity between the teachers too though as they help each other out in covering classes. 

“I usually don’t mind covering other classes during my plan period because I think it shows teamwork amongst us teachers and if I help someone else out hopefully they’ll help me out when I need it,” said science teacher Brandi Miller. 

To be an emergency substitute teacher in the state of Kansas a person must have 60 college credits. To have a normal substitute license a person must have a teaching license. In USD 329 substitute teachers are paid $90 per day. 

Subs for the week

This is an list of the teacher absences at WHS for the week of October 4-8. Secretary Jeanne Parry said it was a typical week. When there is no substitute, teachers cover during plan periods or students go to the library.

Monday 

Rutledge — all day — No Sub

Strait — afternoon — No Sub

Tuesday

Breiner — All day Substitute

Wednesday

Rutledge — All day — substitute

Weisshaar — All day — No Sub

Breiner — All day — No Sub

Thursday

No absences

Friday

Praeger — All day — substitute

B. Miller — All day — No Sub

Weisshaar — Morning — No Sub

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