AHS sub shortage


Kayla Tehrani

Sarah Benson, AHS biology teacher, shown substitute teaching for Brittany Hoefert’s spanish class

This winter, AHS has had a shortage of substitute teachers. When teachers are absent from school, other teachers and staff members have been substitute teaching for them on their planning periods.

The base per diem pay for substitute teachers is $140. They also get bonuses between $200-$400, depending on how many days they work in the district during the school year. Other compensation includes getting free school lunch and having the ability to ride the staff bus to school if they live downvalley. This substitute salary isn’t enough to be able to sustain a life in Aspen, so a lot of the fall and spring substitute teachers become ski instructors during the winter. When teachers in the school district cover other classes during their planning periods, they get $45 per class.

The main result of the sub shortage is that teachers are losing their planning periods to be able to work on their own things, and having to go substitute for subjects that they don’t specialize in. According to the substitute daily reports, in the week of Feb. 24th through the 28th, around 170 classes had to be covered and 53 of them were covered by teachers. The remaining classes were covered by the only seven substitute teachers that worked that week.

Molly Owens is the Human Resources Director in the school district. When asked what she thought was causing the substitute shortage, she explained that there simply aren’t enough people that want to work as a substitute teacher in the winter.

“Probably the biggest factor is that there are a limited number of people in our area who are willing and qualified to work as a guest teacher. There is currently a relatively low unemployment rate in our region, which means that the overall potential labor pool is not huge,” Owens explained.

Administration has always seen the substitute shortage during the winter as an problem, but since the schedule changed from the block schedule to the floating bell, the problem seems to have gotten worse. Tharyn Mulberry, the AHS principal, discusses the change in the effect of this issue.

“I think that it felt different when you had classes to cover because most of the teachers had more time to cover. Teachers would still lose their planning periods, but they wouldn’t lose as many of them,” Mulberry says.