BRIGHTON — Like many school districts across the Front Range, School District 27J is experiencing a shortage of substitutes.
Human Resources Director Ruth DeCrescentis attributes the shortage to a number of factors including the rebounding economy. She said teachers are more willing to take advantage of their time off as they feel more secure in their jobs while substitute teachers are able to be more selective in the jobs they take. She said the district has also seen a decrease in the number of retired personnel returning to substitute teach.
According to DeCrescentis, absence rates vary upon the day but that the highest absences tend to be on Mondays and Fridays. In recent weeks the district had 90 absences in one day but the district was unable to fill 15 of those absences with substitutes.
“What we’ll find is if we don’t have a substitute, that two or three teachers will have to split the class and take those students, so they have larger classes. Or we’ll have the school psychologist, maybe the principal, even other licensed staff will be in covering those classes, and of course the things they need to do — meet with parents or have groups or that kind of thing — doesn’t happen,” she said.
DeCrescentis said it doesn’t affect just one classroom but multiple classrooms and, sometimes, the whole school. To help solve the problem, the district looking to hire new substitutes for both licensed teacher positions as well as classified staff.
Those interested in becoming substitute teachers for the district can apply online at www.sd27j.org. Those interested in classified support staff substitute positions are required to pass a physical and background check in addition to filling out the application online. Those applying to as a substitute teacher need to have the proper authorization from the Colorado Department of Education before applying.
DeCrescentis said the CDE has authorizations for one, three and five year authorizations. One year authorizations require permission from the district and a high school diploma. Three year authorizations require a bachelor’s degree and a five year authorization is for someone with a teaching license but wants to substitute teach.
The district pays $106 per day and $60 per half day for substitute teachers. Retirees who are substitutes are paid $126 per day and classified staff are paid at step 1 of whatever job they are filling.
DeCrescentis said that there are a lot of stereotypes in society about how challenging it can be to be a substitute teacher but that it’s really a rewarding job.
“I think it’s really rewarding to work with a kid, and see in one day, see they learned something or they got fed or they got to and from school or whatever the case may be. You are accomplishing something,” she said.
Contact Substitute Coordinator Theresa Campbell at 303-655-2940 with questions or for more information on becoming a substitute with the district.