Jan 11, 2022

Substitute teachers local issue with statewide impact

Posted Jan 11, 2022 5:25 PM


Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Substitute teachers are desperately needed in every school district in Reno County and in Kansas.

"Every day we have uncovered classrooms," said Buhler USD 313 Superintendent Cindy Couchman last week. "With an uncovered classroom, there's this ripple effect that happens. We have to either combine classes or we pull paras to cover a classroom, which means those paras no longer are working for targeted interventions with our students and those interventions don't happen."

From a state perspective, Mark Tallman with the Kansas Association of School Boards notes it is the state's biggest issue.

"The current issue that we're really hearing is how do we manage our staff shortages?" Tallman said. "How that fits into the longer term is really a bigger question."

Temporary substitute licensure requirements are something that the State Board of Education will need to address, but ultimately finding the bodies is up to the local districts.

"It's up to local boards to figure those things out, as much as possible," Tallman said. "Right now we have rules from the state board. We have laws from the legislature. Part of the debates that will happen this year, I think is, within the legislature, to what extent do we continue to let local boards struggle through these, where no matter what they do, someone will be mad?"

Couchman said there hasn't been a day since the return from holiday break without at least one classroom in need of coverage.