by Paul Rignell
As Elk River Area School District principals and officials are planning for school to resume in about five weeks, they are asking the School Board to consider amending the pay scale for substitute teachers.
The district’s current pay scale for those workers has been in place without changes since 1999, and Human Resources Manager Dolly Bina told the board at a workshop July 21 that the compensation rules have led many of the district’s most respected substitute teachers in recent years to give their morning priority to day vacancies in other neighboring districts.
“A majority of our (substitute teachers) work in multiple districts,” Bina said.
Under current Elk River district policy, a new substitute teacher receives $105 for a full-day teaching assignment, she explained, and their daily pay rate increases to $120 after the first 20 work days in one school year.
Their service is not considered cumulatively from year to year, meaning that each substitute teacher in the Elk River Schools currently reverts to the base pay rate each September regardless of their work experience in District 728. Bina said that work experience is counted from year to year in other districts’ policies.
The board is scheduled to vote on changes in its district policy at a meeting July 28. Bina said that the request is coming after review of the issue by a task force over the past two years.
Human resources staff is asking the board to expand the district’s policy by including a three-tier pay scale for substitute teachers. A new employee in that position would begin their first on-call day with a pay rate of $112, and they could advance to a second level of $120 per day after 30 days of service. A worker’s experience in the district would accumulate from year to year when their pay is considered.
At a third pay level, after 70 days of service, a substitute teacher would receive $125 per day.
Bina said that many comparable districts already have policies with three pay levels for those workers. She said the proposed increases for Elk River Schools would bring the district’s policy in line with going rates elsewhere.