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Savings unclear for Guilderland's reduced substitute rate

School board debates reduced pay-rate amid rising costs for long-term subs

— Substitute teachers at Guilderland schools have seen less money in their pockets from the district, but it remains unclear if the district has realized any savings.

Guilderland Superintendent of Schools Marie Wiles presented an update on substitute teaching expenses at the Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday, Dec. 10. The board adopted reduced teacher substitute rates for the 2013-14 school year in July, which was a daily rate of $5 less than the prior school year. Four board members voted to rescind the reduced rates a month after it was adopted, but five members voted to keep it.

This reduced the daily rates to $90 for elementary and middle school substitute teachers, $60 for half-day substitutes at the high school and $95 for full-day high school substitutes. The long-term substitute rate, requiring 15 consecutive days substituting for the same teacher retroactive to the first day, was reduced to $165 per day.

Wiles said concrete conclusions could not yet be drawn on the affects of reducing the rate.

“The bottom line in this discussion is it’s really too soon to tell whether the change in the substitute rate will create a substantial savings in substitute costs for this year,” Wiles said. “If we look at the total amount of costs that we have had since September we are actually up in our costs, but that is attributable to a number of variables.”

Wiles said there have been more long-term substitutes this school year, which is one factor for the increased expenses.

Wiles said the fill-rate — or rather, the failure to hire a daily substitute — last school year had 17 instances where a substitute could not be attained. This school year, the fill-rate more than doubled to 42 instances. Wiles said at this point she could not link the change in pay-rate to the higher occurrences.

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