Eager to attract substitute teachers, the Maine School Administrative District 75 Board of Directors raised the daily rate from $95 to $125 on Oct. 7.

At the same time, the school board raised the hourly rate for substitute paraprofessionals from $13.85 to $16. Paraprofessionals include educational technicians, the majority of whom work in special education.

“We’ve been facing a real shortage of substitute teachers and substitute paraprofessionals, like many districts have been, throughout the first six weeks or so of the school year,” interim Superintendent Bob Lucy said.

“When we talk about a shortage, every day we have schools that have insufficient substitutes,” Business Manager Mark Conrad said.

During the 2021-22 school year, the rate for substitute teachers was $85 per day. The district temporarily raised the rate to $125 in the spring. The Oct. 7 vote reinstated that rate and made it permanent.

Substitute teachers work about seven hours a day, so their rate works out to $17.86 per hour. Substitute paraprofessionals work about 6 1/2 hours a day, so they will earn about $104 per day.

The new rate for substitute teachers will make MSAD 75 competitive with neighboring districts, according to Lucy.

The district estimates the annual cost of the increases at about $92,000-$93,000. This year’s budget includes funds to hire two “floating” substitute teachers, but the district has not filled those positions. The savings from the vacant positions and the inability to find subs in general will offset the increase in daily rates, according to Lucy.

Eric Lusk, one of Harpswell’s four representatives to the board, suggested a smaller raise for substitute teachers and a larger raise for substitute paraprofessionals.
“As I look around the different retail stores, the demand for people getting paid $15, $16 an hour is real high,” Lusk said.

Alison Hawkes, another Harpswell representative to the board, said the new rate for substitute teachers was inadequate.

“I don’t want to say that I want to keep pace with other districts,” Hawkes said. “I would rather pay a little more and get what we need to get.”

Lucy suggested that the board could revisit the rates as it develops a budget for the 2022-23 school year.

In the end, the board voted unanimously to approve the increases.

Lucy encouraged anyone interested in subbing to contact Human Resources Director Jessica Factor at 207-729-9961 ext. 1041 or factorj@link75.org.

MSAD 75 includes Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell and Topsham.