SDPBC approves substitute teacher pay raise


Ben Seelig

Substituting for Karen Anthony’s science class, Richard Tozzie takes attendance and supervises the class. The bill passed will raise a substitute’s salary depending on their past education. “The value of a sub is going to be greater when you have a specialized talent,” Tozzie said.

The legislation to increase the pay rate of substitute teachers was put into action Aug. 10, 2021.

Once the bill was put into place, the pay of a substitute rose depending on their education. The rate was $12.33 per hour with 30 to 59 earned college credits/hours (up from $11.33 per hour). Substitutes made $12.59 per hour with an associate degree, or 60 or more earned college credits/hours (up from $11.59 per hour). With a bachelor’s degree or higher, the rate was $14.39 per hour (up from $13.39 per hour). Retired teachers made $14.91 per hour, both in and out-of-state (up from $13.91 per hour). Additional $3 per hour to teach at Substitute Supplement Schools, according to the School District of Palm Beach County.

One of the leading causes for the pay raise was the lack of teachers and substitute teachers available at school now.

“It’s considered a critical substitute shortage, so they are exploring modifications to the hiring requirements,” Crystal Clark, assistant principal said.

At Bak, there was the advantage of having permanent substitutes. They could better teach their students, and the district does not have to find substitutes to appoint at Bak.

“Substitutes come to school and love to see them [students.] Other schools are having more difficulty having consistent substitutes,”

Clark said.

The pay raise enticed more people to become substitute teachers. This helped fill in the gaps that were lost due to the teacher shortage.

“The pay raise is going to affect me because I feel valued,” Richard Tozzie, substitute teacher said.

Even with this pay raise though, substitute teachers were not making a supplementary amount of money.

“You can’t live on a substitute’s pay rate,” Tozzie said.

Tozzie said that many substitute teachers became substitutes either to see how the school system worked, or if they wanted to get a job as a teacher.

“It would have been nice for it to have been retroactive,” Tozzie said.

Other actions were taken to encourage more substitutes to join the school system. For example, lowering the age or education requirements. High school graduates could substitute in elementary school classrooms with the new legislation.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Mark Mitchell, director of compensation and employee information services said, “We called other districts in Florida, and it’s worked for them.”