In another effort to address the staffing shortage, this time in a “hard to fill” position, the Tucson Unified School District will raise the daily wages of substitutes at certain schools and some to meet needs at other campuses. shift special education teachers.

Exceptional Education staff who split their time between the two campuses to meet high demand will receive a $1,000 scholarship each semester to cover travel expenses and compensate for additional work .

Substitutes covering classes in six selected schools where school district administrators have determined that substaff numbers are generally low will receive an additional $25 on top of their current $145 daily wage for at least the first quarter of the school year. increase.

“I think you’re seeing a theme here: compensation for vacancies, compensation for vacancies, compensation for vacancies,” superintendent Gabriel Trujillo said Aug. 23 on the lack of substitutes and exceptional education teachers. I explained it to the members.

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Trujillo said the increase in daily rates was intended to make these schools more attractive for replacements, given that these campuses suffered the biggest sub-shortfalls of the last academic year. He said that

This applies to subs working in Banks Elementary, Johnson Primary, Lawrence 3-8, Pistor Middle, Valencia Middle and Vesey Elementary schools.

The measure was initially offered as a $15 price increase, but Trujillo said the gap between replacement teachers and teachers is still considerable.

According to information provided during the meeting, this increase could cost the district up to $47,460, assuming all current sub-vacancies at these sites are filled.

But board member Sadie Shaw said she didn’t think such a small price increase would work and suggested raising the amount to $25.

“My concern is that we’re starting to get into the realm of what fully qualified teachers do on a daily basis,” Trujillo said of Shaw’s proposal. “This board has adjusted this rate several times, but I can say that money is not solving the problem.”

Still, the board ultimately agreed that raising the rates of the schools mentioned was the primary way to make them more attractive positions for teachers, and unanimously approved the measure. .

District management has not disclosed how much the new $25 price increase would cost the district as a whole if all vacancies were filled.

Trujillo said the board should revisit the issue early in the second quarter to analyze whether wage increases are helping staffing and make changes to the list of schools eligible for the raises. It said it plans to determine whether

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Regarding the district’s exceptional education programs, Trujillo said some schools have significantly underpopulated special education programs, while others have seen an increase in demand for these services.

To ensure that all these students receive the attention and support they need, up to 14 special education staff members with low caseloads will need to split their time between two different campuses to meet their needs. There may be.

Trujillo said this could include special education teachers and paraprofessionals, or teacher assistants.

Sabrina Salmon, the district’s senior director of special education, said staff members assigned to new schools will not be removed from their original assignments.

Instead, teachers with case loads of less than 10 students may need to split their time between the two campuses if another school is struggling with a larger case load than their staff can handle. I have.

“We recognize that it is difficult to ask one of our hardworking former educators, whether a parapro or head teacher, to move from one school to another that does not necessarily have a large caseload. limit their case load,” Trujillo said.

As such, to compensate for the additional efforts of these employees, school district staff suggested offering a scholarship of $500 each semester. Assuming all 14 of her staff members at Ex Ed were assigned to her second school, the school district would cost her $14,000 in her first grade.

But director Layla Counts said she believed it was fair to pay them a higher sum.

“I think $500 is a bit cheap, because it can be hard to keep your mind organized when you think about transportation, driving, and having two different places to go,” Counts said. reaches $1,000 each. “This is a very professional job.”

Counts’ proposal was unanimously approved. In other words, this action could cost districts up to $28,000.

Salmon said that Ex Ed staff allocations may change as the school district continues to analyze enrollment and staffing levels during the school year and adjust resources accordingly.

Any questions or news tips about K-12 education in Southern Arizona? Contact reporter Genesis Lara:

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