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Wilmington area educators call for higher pay for substitute teachers

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 6:09 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington area educators held a press conference outside the NHC Board of Education building Tuesday afternoon to address the critical shortage of substitute teachers in the region.

Ahead of the New Hanover County Board of Education’s Tuesday evening meeting, Wilmington area public educators and members of the New Hanover County Association of Educators (NHCAE) gathered to call on the board members to take swift action to consider higher pay for substitute teachers to help relieve educator burnout.

“Imagine trying to do coverage for an entire set of classes for two weeks straight and then do that for multiple classes,” says Ashley High School teacher Christina Holland. “It’s exhausting. We’re all exhausted.”

Members of the NHCAE group said in a news release ahead of the press conference that teachers are doing double duty:

New Hanover Co. Schools are routinely not able to find enough substitute teachers to fill in for educators who are ill, quarantined, or out on leave. The result is teachers forced to cover other classes during their planning periods, teaching assistants pulled from classes where they are needed, and students getting short-changed on the education they deserve.

The NHCAE wants money from federal COVID relief funds to be used to address low wages and staffing shortages.

Educators are calling for three steps to alleviate the substitute teacher shortage in New Hanover County.

  1. Increase substitute teacher pay to $125 per day for licensed substitute teachers and $100 per day for unlicensed substitute teachers.
  2. Compensate any educator with $60 for every additional class they are asked to cover.
  3. Provide education support professionals with a living wage by guaranteeing a $17 / hour minimum base pay.

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