Retired subs to receive more money in Pitt County
By Amber Revels-Stocks
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
The Pitt County Board of Education on Monday approved a policy change that would increase the rate of pay for retired Pitt County School teachers who are substitute teaching.
“Retired PCS teachers who have an expired or current license will be paid the certified substitute rate of $103 per day instead of the $80 per day non-certified sub rate,” said Ve-Lecia Council, assistant superintendent of human resources.
This applies only to teachers who retired from Pitt County Schools, not to those who retired from other districts. It will not affect the district's budget.
The change was approved as part of the meeting’s consent agenda.
Board members Benjie Forrest and Worth Forbes first brought up the idea of raising substitutes' pay at the school board’s Aug. 19 work session. They had met with a group of retired teachers who were interested in substitute teaching but had let their teaching certification lapse.
“It’s reaching a critical mass where for a lot of (retired teachers), it’s not worth their time with the amount of money we’re paying," Forrest said in August. "We don’t want to miss out on that pool of substitutes."
At the board’s request, Council sent out a survey to ask other school district how they paid their substitutes, including how they paid retired teachers with expired licenses.
She brought the results of the survey back to the school board at its Sept. 16 work session, where board members resumed their discussion on the issue.
“Last time, I was saying that certified retired teachers would be better to have as a sub than someone that has a two-year degree and never been in the classroom,” Forbes during the session. “The concerns came in when you could have someone with no experience and pay them $80 a day and also pay a former teacher who was certified but let it lapse $80 a day. … If I was an experienced sub and let my certificate expire, I’d be paid $80. I wouldn’t do it (for that amount).”
Among the districts that responded to the survey, about half said they paid retired teachers the certified rate even if their certification had expired, according to Council.
“We haven’t run across that a lot because we let (retired subs) attend professional development after our current teachers have signed up,” she said. “We don’t really have a lot of retired teachers with lapsed licenses.”
Forbes said the potential substitutes he and Forrest spoke to were not substituting because they had let their license expire.
“I’m agreeing with Forbes for several reasons,” board member Amy Cole said. “I have an expired teaching license because I don’t need a license at Pitt Community College where I teach every day. … I have the same experience but would receive less.”
Board member Caroline Doherty wanted to know what barriers there were to retired teachers maintaining their licenses.
“It goes back to them being in the know of curriculum and instruction,” Council said. “We ask them to obtain (continuing education) credits that align with curriculum and instruction. … My mom retired in 2012. Can she control a class? Absolutely. But can she explain what standards she’s teaching, especially where technology is concerned? Probably not. These things change over time.”
Board member Mary Blount Williams was concerned that schools in her district are having difficulty in securing substitute teachers, resulting in teachers covering classes during their planning periods. Her district is primarily north of the river and includes Belvoir Elementary, North Pitt High and Wellcome Middle schools among others.
“I have a problem with subs not being assigned to schools," she said. "Schools in my district have problems getting subs. I don’t know if it’s because they’re not willing to travel or if certain schools are seen as having more discipline problems. Do we think doing this will make it more likely for my schools to find subs?”
Substitute teachers who are paid higher rates may be more likely to travel, Forrest said.
Chairwoman Anna Barrett Smith asked for council to compile data on what schools are having difficulties finding substitutes.
“That’s a separate issue that is worth looking at,” Smith said. “We need to be aware of problems like that so we can fix them.”
Finding that the board was in consensus, Forrest asked for the policy change to be added to Monday night’s consent agenda. Consent agendas allow boards to approve consensus items in one action rather than having to approve each one separately.
At Monday's meeting, Forbes made the motion to approve the consent agenda, which board member Caroline Doherty seconded. It passed unanimously with board member Williams absent.