TWIN FALLS — Like many school districts across the state, the Twin Falls School District has been struggling to find a sufficient pool of substitute teachers. But for the Twin Falls School District, things are beginning to improve.
“We’re much more comfortable," said Eva Craner, spokesperson for the Twin Falls School District. "We're able to cover more classrooms, less teachers are having to give up their prep time to cover for their colleagues.”
In the earlier portion of the school year, the district had a pool of nearly 90 substitutes, with only 50 to 60 regularly available. Now, the district has over 100 substitutes and is having much better luck in filling those vacant positions.
Part of what has helped entice people to fill in vacant positions was financial incentives made possible by Gov. Brad Little's Substitute Teach Recruitment Grant. The district received $300,000 from the grant and increased their pay from $95-110 to $100-115 per day, depending on a person's qualifications.
Officials are also able to offer a $300 bonus to any substitute that works 15 days a month.
“We know we can’t compete with folks who are paying $17 an hour for a cashier, but we can certainly utilize that funding to be as competitive as possible,” said Craner.
What also helped fill open positions was the school district's efforts to get the word out. They utilized job postings through social media, notifying people at events such as PTA meetings and even mass emails. This managed to garner a large enough response from the community, with parents of students even stepping up to help.
“It was really community members who were like, you know, I have a couple of days a week that I can guest teach, it’s not something I want to do long term, but those are the type of people that we are seeing come into the system,” said Craner.
While the district is comfortable now, they are looking ahead to the springtime when more extracurricular activities for students begin to take place, and more teachers are outside the classroom.
“We want them to have their coach or advisor, who many times is one of our certified teachers," said Craner. "But we do need substitute teachers to cover those classrooms when those coaches or advisers are out with their activities.”
For anyone who would like to apply or help out the district by filling in either part or full-time positions can head to the district's website.