Facing a shortage, Seminole to offer incentives to substitutes

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — The Seminole County School district has, on average, 400 teachers call in sick each day.

On any given day, the county is only able to fill about half of those positions with substitutes.

It is a problem schools are seeing nationwide due to the pandemic.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

Read: Local nurses protest to raise awareness of nursing shortage

Now the district is using an incentive program to get those substitutes to report for work.

Schools communications officer Michael Lawrence said that although there is a large pool of substitute teachers, many are not coming in to work.

“It’s definitely worse than when we had pre-COVID, we’re at about a 60% fill rate for our substitute teachers when we need them,” Lawrence said.

Read: US Surgeon General: Prepare for high case counts, hospitalizations as omicron peaks soon

Substitute teacher William Lockhart, who has been with the district for two years, said he has been filling in a lot.

“Well, I’ve been quite busy, almost every day. So, I sub most of the times, when I don’t have any personal business to take care of,” Lockhart said.

Now the district is using an incentive program to get those substitutes to come in and work.

Read: Supreme Court halts COVID-19 vaccine rule for U.S. businesses

Substitute teachers, on average, make $80 a day.

For January, the district said it is offering up to an extra $30 a day to substitutes in an effort to entice them back to the classroom.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.