Substitute Teachers of the Year - Glenda Davis, Angela Wallace, LeAnn Lipe.jpg (copy)

Hawkins County Schools has traditionally had a difficult time finding enough substitute teachers to fill the need. Director of Schools Matt Hixson told the board of education that the proposed contract with a substitute management agency would solve this problem. Substitute Teachers of the Year Glenda Davis, Angela Wallace, and LeAnn Lipe were honored in late April.

Hawkins Co. Schools is considering an option that could both alleviate the long-time substitute teacher shortage and offer those substitutes better pay and benefits.

Rather than continuing to recruit, pay and manage substitute teachers within the system, Hawkins Co. School System is considering contracting with ESS, which is an outside company that would manage the county’s substitute teachers.

Kingsport City, Greene County and Jefferson County Schools already partner with ESS.

As part of this contract, Hawkins County’s substitute teachers would be employed through ESS rather than through Hawkins County Schools. They would still be paid at Hawkins Co.’s salary scale and trained with the system’s onboarding materials, but they would be offered benefits through ESS.

As it currently stands, Hawkins County Schools pays non-certified substitute teachers $65 per day, certified substitute teacher $75 per day, and Hawkins County BOE retired certified substitute teachers $85 per day.

However, they are currently not not offered any benefits.

ESS would also allow these employees to work five days per week.

“We currently have had to cut them off at four days a week because we would have to incur healthcare costs according to the Affordable Care Act,” Hixson said. “If they do a good job of managing and filling our vacancies, we would also get a full-time employee from ESS to work as a liaison between our [human resource’s] office and our sub pool.”

He also noted that ESS has access to statewide recruitment if additional substitutes are needed in the county, and ESS is responsible for filling any vacancies.

The system is able to use Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to trial the program for two years without affecting the system’s budget.

“Though I don’t know that we will end up saving money over time, we will save a lot of time and effort in filling those vacancies,” Hixson told the board at their May 12 budget meeting. “The benefit for our subs who move over to ESS is that they get access to full-time positions, which they can’t have now, as well as the benefits. The benefit to us is that we don’t have to oversee it.”

In addition, if a substitute teacher was an employee with Hawkins County’s ESS program, they could also work within any neighboring school systems’ ESS program.

“We all know how much trouble we have with finding subs,” Board Member Judy Trent said.

Even if the system contracts with ESS, they would still maintain the resident substitute teacher positions that were established last fall. These positions would then become part of the ESS contract, but they would still work at their regularly-assigned school site.

The resident substitutes are year-to-year teachers who are stationed at each school for the purpose of filling classroom vacancies on the spur of the moment, or when there aren’t enough subs available to meet the demand any given day.

There are currently two resident subs in each high school, as well as two in the K-8 campuses, and one sub at each elementary school.

“I’ve talked to principals who have a resident sub, and I think that was a great hire,” Trent added.

Trending Recipe Videos