New London raises pay for subs
Substitute teacher pay upped by 20 percent since 2011
By Scott Bellile
The New London School Board approved raising the district’s substitute teacher pay rates on Jan. 25 .
The purpose of the raise was to better compete with nearby districts amid a regional sub shortage.
A public school substitute teacher in New London will earn $100 per full day, up from $95 previously. The rate for a half day will increase from $47.50 to $50.
“This is good because I’ve heard a lot of complaints we’re paying too low,” board member Connie Neely told the board.
The district gathered data from 40 other Wisconsin schools to determine a reasonable rate. Of the schools, the average was $99.36 for a full day, indicating that New London was paying lower than the other districts surveyed.
Of the districts surveyed, West De Pere paid the highest ($142) while West Bend paid the lowest ($90). Neighboring Hortonville was on the high end with $115 per day.
New London’s pay increase follows what has become a nearly annual schedule of raises for subs over the last several Januaries. Prior to 2012 the full-day rate was $80. It was raised to $85 in 2012, then $90 in 2014, $95 in 2015 and $100 in 2016. That equates to a 20 percent increase from 2011.
Sue Ann Goedderz, a library aide at New London Intermediate/Middle School who schedules subs, told the Press Star she is satisfied to see the school board raise the pay to keep New London competitive. Although it’s not a major problem, she said she’s seen a few New London subs go off to nearby districts that pay higher.
“I’m pleased that they’ve kept us in the game,” Goedderz said. “I don’t want to see any disparities, or else we could have issues.”
Monica Koeller, who has subbed in the School District of New London for 17 years, said during a break between classes Monday that the raise will reward subs for their hard work. She said subs have challenges of their own, like learning unfamiliar content and dealing with behaviors that students don’t exhibit when their normal teacher is in the classroom.
Subs also let full-time teachers use their prep time for its intended purpose: grading and planning lessons, not teaching other classes.
“It’s worth it for the district if more subs will come in because then they don’t have to take the teachers’ times to help out in a classroom that they didn’t get a sub for,” Koeller said.
District Administrator Kathy Gwidt told the Press Star Monday that the district is seeing a shortage in substitute teachers that coincides with a shortage in full-time teachers statewide.
While the district isn’t necessarily short on full-time teachers, because all its positions are filled, Gwidt said a decade ago the district would receive around 400 applications for one full-time teaching position. Today that number is down to 100.
She said before the Wisconsin Act 10 legislation went into effect in 2011, universities were putting out far more teachers. As a result, school districts employed more substitutes because some graduates couldn’t land full-time teaching jobs right away.
Despite public education’s current struggles in Wisconsin, Gwidt said she’s optimistic the climate will improve as people realize the importance of an education.
New London has about 50 subs in its pool now, a quarter of whom sub on a regular basis, according to Joe Marquardt, business services director for the district.
Goedderz said she is able to schedule a sub for a teacher about 95 percent of the time, while the other 5 percent of the time a school finds full-time teachers or administrators to step in during prep hours or free time. The district will utilize five to 15 subs on a regular day and 30 on a high day, she said.
New London has a “reliable and devoted core” of subs, Goedderz said. She estimated 90 percent live in the immediate area. It often pays for local subs to stay here even if a neighboring district pays a few dollars higher a day because the commuting costs would take away from those extra earnings, she said.
Koeller said she enjoys various aspects of subbing: the free time on her days off, watching kids grow up as she subs from school to school, and keeping her mind going.
“It’s fun to learn,” Koeller said. “I’ve had a blast relearning things, and I think I’m smarter for it.”
Adults interested in substitute teaching in the School District of New London may contact Jill Willner at 920-982-8530. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or a license through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.