Shortage of substitutes

Decline in substitute applicants, administrators and state legislature take official action

In the past few years, Stevenson has been experiencing a shortage of substitutes. With a student teacher ratio of 16:2, Stevenson has around 500 teachers, and only an average of 30-35 substitutes available daily.

Scarcity of substitutes occurred because of stern professional development and training requirements, as well as complicated and lengthy registration processes for proper licensing.
“For several years, our substitutes were people that had substitute teaching licenses.” SHS substitute coordinator Kim Clauser said. “Due to those regulations, we ended up with a shortage of substitutes.”

Substitute numbers have been on the decline for a while. The trend was first noted in Fall of 2013, and by November, 2013, 48% of districts nationwide had reported a severe or somewhat severe shortage of substitute teachers. In January of this year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation intended to help more people, specifically retired teachers and teachers with out-of-state teaching licenses to get sublicenses by shortening the application process and relaxing requirements.

“We are clearing a better pathway to the classroom for teachers, ensuring that they can focus on the important job they do, which is educating our children.” Rauner said.

Clauser and a number of administrators have come together to solve the problem. The idea was to loosen the factors restricting substitutes from applying.

“My director, our HR director and I have decided to open up application to anybody with a sublicense,” Clauser said. “With that in place, we have quite a few new subs coming in.”

With the state’s legislature and Clauser’s collective efforts, the field of teacher substitution is recovering and even growing. Retired and out of state teachers, coaches, and even parents of Stevenson students can now more easily register to work as substitutes.

A lot of our subs that have sublicenses are parents, coaches, retired teachers and just people who have interacted with students.” Clauser said. “I’ve expanded my substitute database greatly.”