For the first time in decades, the Spokane School District is short on substitute teachers. Around the state and country, more and more teachers are retiring. District 81 is beginning to advertise to attract more teachers to apply.
On an average day, the district needs 300 substitute teachers and other school staff. In years past, they've had almost double that amount to choose from. Now, they're close to running out.
"Our substitute pool is diminished and we're working on building it back up," said S.P.S. Spokeswoman Erica Hallock.
There are about 410 subs in the school pool, 150 fewer than last year. Hallock says it's because many of them were hired on as full-time.
"With both our district's decision to move to all-day kindergarten, as well as the legislature's additional investment, it meant we hired 326 teachers so far this school year," said Hallock.
It's a good and bad problem to have. Good for the teachers, bad for the district.
Associate professor Leslie Hall says it's great for students W.S.U. Spokane teaching program.
"It means that a lot of my students who have been subbing for the past three or four years now have permanent positions," she said.
Hall says the district could attract more subs if outside employers were more flexible. That way, professionals who want to be in a classroom could sub one or two days a month.
"Great for those young people who really want to teach, to come back as subs and possibly get back into the field they really want to be in," said Hall.
Substitute teachers have to have a degree and teaching certificate. If that's you, you're encouraged to give District 81 a try to make this sub shortage shrink.
"It's really important that we have high-quality substitutes so that the learning can continue. That's paramount to us," said Hallock.
The district says all classes will always be taught by an adult. If they can't find a sub, an administrator will step in.