Quakertown Community School District’s chief operating officer may soon recommend raising daily substitute teacher rates.
At $95 per day ($79 after taxes are taken out) for the first 39 days, Quakertown has the lowest pay of any district in Upper and Central Bucks. Even though a substitute will earn $105 on day 40, COO Zach Schoch says the district is losing teachers to nearby districts that pay a lot more per diem.
Those districts, Saucon Valley and Southern Lehigh, pay $120 a day; Central Bucks pays $110 on Mondays and Fridays, the most common days for full-time teachers to call out.
With that in mind, Schoch said last week, he is considering starting daily pay of $105 from day one. Retired district teachers would receive $115 per day.
The district’s finance committee discussed the issue at its August meeting, but Schoch insisted he would not commit to a final recommendation for the school board until further research and a cost analysis was done.
Quakertown, along with Pennridge and Palisades, began outsourcing its daily substitute teaching staff to ESS, formerly Source 4 Teachers, in 2013. Data from the ESS database show fill rates for teacher absences steadily declining from 87 percent in the 2015-2016 school year to 76 percent this past school year. Data from Southern Lehigh and Central Bucks, which directly employ substitutes, show a higher fill rate of 94 and 97 percent respectively in the 2015-2016 school year. More recent data was not available at press time.
While staffing companies save districts money on health care costs and time processing new employees and handling payroll, they don’t contribute to their substitutes’ state pension, or PSERS, benefits and typically offer health insurance plans with minimal coverage.