Substitute teachers are supposed to be just that - temporary replacements.

But a couple of state legislators are concerned that some districts may be using subs to save money. 

Current state Department of Education regulations allow a substitute teacher to work in the same classroom for no more than 20 school days. But Sen. Shirley Turner said some districts have been filling vacant teaching positions by rotating a new substitute teacher into the classroom every 20 days, and she is sponsoring a bill, S435, to stop it. 

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A fully-certified teacher can work as a sub, and they can work longer than 20 days.  But the basic substitute certificate requires just 60 credits, or two years of college. 

Substitute teachers are paid less than a certified teacher, and they get no health benefits. So you can see the attraction to a district trying to save money.

Some specialty positions can be difficult to fill, and it's very possible it could take more than 20 days to find a physics or French teacher.  Turner's bill would allow a 20-day extension with the permission of the Education Commissioner if the district can show it has tried and failed to find a certified teacher.

But it is a bit scary to think that a district might intentionally put an unqualified person with no preparation into a classroom, then repeat the process every 20 days, just to save money.





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