Chesterton Tribune



Duneland School Board OKs increased pay for subs in wake of shortage

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Substitute teachers for the Duneland Schools will be paid a higher daily rate, the first increase in about two decades.

Or at least in the last 13 years, according to Duneland Schools Superintendent David Pruis who recommended the school board raise the rate from $60 to $70 for substitute teachers having a substitute permit but not a teacher’s license, and from $70 to $80 for those with a teaching license.

“The rate has been the same as long as I have been at Duneland,” Pruis said.

The board voted 4-0 to approve the new amounts. Absent from the meeting Monday was member Ronald Stone.

Prior to the vote, Duneland Teachers Association Co-President Michele Bartels read aloud a statement addressing the “dismal reduction in available substitute teachers,” attributing the stagnant pay as part of the reason for the shortage.

“Twenty years! We want people to come in and work with our children at the same rate that was earned two decades ago? There may be additional reasons for the sub shortage, but this one sticks out like a sore thumb,” Bartels said in her statement to the board.

Bartels said that secretaries, principal and cafeteria aides have been monitoring classrooms to cover for absent teachers when a sub cannot be found. These situations have happened “in all grade levels and all buildings in the corporation,” according to Bartels.

The “substitute shuffle” has also been troubling to teachers who create plans for subs then find there was no sub available to teach the class, said Bartels who added this “wastes time for teachers and students.”

The shortage has been a topic of DTA meetings with the superintendent for a couple of years now, Bartels said, and the past two years “have been particularly difficult” as subs’ weekly hours have been restricted to avoid additional health care costs of the Affordable Care Act.

Bartels said she guesses the sub pay at Duneland has stayed at $60 because that has been the pay at all other schools in Porter County to eliminate unfair competition between smaller schools and larger schools, but she was surprised when she heard that the Boone Twp. School Board last week agreed to give a $10 per day pay increase.

Pruis said East Porter County Schools has also raised its pay to $70 and $80 a day, making Duneland the third school corporation to do so.

Board President Kristin Kroeger said she found it interesting in discovering earlier Tuesday that Duneland has paid $100 for people staffing sporting events compared to what it pays substitutes.

“I had a little disconnect in my head on that,” she said.

Marshall said with the schools in the county paying subs the same, to raise the daily rate is “a very tough decision to make.” He agreed with Kroeger that the sports workers being paid more than the teachers “doesn’t seem right.”

“It’s something we’re going to have to take a look at,” he said.

Board member Mike Trout said “it’s a point well taken,” agreeing the pay amount for sports events needs to be explored. He made a motion to accept the administration’s recommendation to increase the daily pay for subs as the board reevaluates the issue.

Kroeger inquired if the board could decide to further increase the rate if it wished to. Pruis said the board could change it if it preferred.

Bartels told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that she had expected the board to raise the rate to the same level as EPCSC and Boone school corporation, but hopes the board increases it even more.

The cost of living adjustment from 20 years ago would put the $60 per day rate at $91.54, she said.

Bartels hopes the change will help reduce the substitute shortage.

“It’s been bad this year,” she said.

Duneland Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz reported this morning that $267,000 is the amount Duneland has paid out in certified sub costs this past year.

Teachers hired

In other matters, Duneland principals made introductions of new educators hired at their schools, including three new guidance counselors.

Lindsay Moskalick will be a counselor for Brummitt Elementary, Elizabeth Martin for Jackson Elementary and Amy Snyder for Bailly Elementary.

Moskalick, who comes from Crown Point High School, is a graduate of Chesterton High School.

Another CHS graduate, Taylor Ricks, will join the high school next school year as an art teacher. Ricks has had her art shown on the Discovery Channel, CHS principal Jeff Van Drie noted.

“I started my passion for art at Chesterton,” Ricks said.

Also hailing Chesterton as her home, Amber Robinson will teach second grade at Yost Elementary.

“It’s a dream come true. I love to be a part of Yost,” she said.

Gena Davis from Merrillville High School will teach sixth grade at Westchester Intermediate.

Jennifer Jendrzejczk has been hired as a summer school English teacher at CHS.

Mitzi Burris will be a student accounts clerk at CHS. Abigail Chavez will be an instructional aide at WIS and Megan Goodman will be a custodian for Duneland.

Rob Yong and Kevin Murray will help out with sound/lighting at CHS.

In coaching, Jordan Nelson will coach Girls Varsity Golf at CHS and Tommy Berry will be the assistant golf coach for the girls.

Resignations this month include elementary teacher Carrie Demmon, CHS business teacher Scott Truelove, Jackson Elementary first grade teacher Kayla Prow, Bailly Elementary Title 1 aide Colleen Grimes, CMS 8th Grade track coach Allison Yagodnik, and CHS Sound/Light technician Trevor Wright.

Transferring from Liberty Elementary to CHS is Art teacher Colin May. Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Mary Ann Martin is transferring from Bailly Elementary to CHS.

Rugg commended the board on the effort to put guidance counselors at each of its elementary schools. Kroeger said the support of the community through the school referendum made it possible.


Posted 6/28/2016





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