Southern Oklahoma school districts seek substitute teachers
ARDMORE, Okla., (KTEN) — Finding educators to fill open teaching positions is not a new issue for school districts in southern Oklahoma. Some are also struggling to find substitute teachers to be on standby.
"Not as many kids are going to college to become teachers," explained Ardmore City Schools Assistant Superintendent Andy Davis.
ACS currently has just 15 available substitutes to cover the district's five campuses serving more than 2,600 students.
"It’s a true crisis in education to find enough certified people to teach classes,” Davis said.
Ideally, he said the district would like to have 40 people on the substitute teacher list.
“On any given day when we call them, not everybody can work that day, and it's a real stretch when we have approximately 200 teachers across the district, and at any given time, they could be absent for a number of reasons,” Davis explained. “So 15 just isn't going to cover it. So we double up on classrooms and have to be very creative to cover all the classes.”
The same challenges are being felt at Tishomingo Public Schools.
“We end up having to pay staff members for part of their day while covering classes if they have a planning period where we lack substitute teacher support,” said Superintendent Bobby Waitman.
He added that TPS also considers substitute teachers for other open positions within the district.
“We've created even a greater issue with finding substitutes in Tishomingo, because when we do have individuals that come in and want to substitute teach, and we see that they are individuals that have the ability to affect positive interaction with students, we have worked to try to bring them on staff,” Waitman said.
The superintendent plans to ask the Tishomingo school board to raise substitute teachers' daily pay to help with recruiting.
Substitutes at Ardmore City Schools must have at least a high school diploma or GED and are required to pass a background check.