Need for substitute teachers, aides grows in Frisco ISD

Frisco ISD schools requested over 70,000 substitute teachers and aides in 2018-19.

Frisco ISD schools requested over 70,000 substitute teachers and aides in 2018-19.

Frisco ISD schools continue to face a substitute teacher and aide shortage after the 2018-19 school year, said Anna Koenig, school district managing director of human resources, at a June 25 FISD special meeting.

An update of the district's shortage comes after approved incentives by the board of trustees in March, which granted full-day substitutes an extra $15 on Mondays and Fridays as well as other pay incentives.

While the substitute fill rate increased from 85% in teacher-absent classrooms in March to 88% in May, Pamela Linton, FISD chief human resources officer, said there is still room for improvement.

“Unfortunately, it’s not the increase that we want to see when we think about what needs to happen for children and for staff members who need to be absent for whatever reason,” Linton said.

The need for substitute teachers and aides is increasing every year as the district grows, Koenig said at the meeting. In the 2018-19 school year, there were 70,714 substitute requests at FISD’s 72 campuses, an 18% increase from the 2016-17 school year.

When a teacher is absent and a substitute is unavailable at the elementary level, Linton said classes often get divided and other teachers take on extra students. At the secondary level, teachers often miss out on collaborative planning time.

“Over time, that impacts instruction,” Linton said.

Fill rates for aides are even lower, Linton said. Fill rate percentages are in the low 60s for those who work with special education students and those with the most critical needs.

FISD needs a pool of 1,500 to 2,000 substitutes in order to reach the district’s goal of a 95% fill rate, Koenig said.

As the 2019-20 school year approaches, Linton said the district is considering its options.

“It’s the determination of do we continue with the incentives?” Linton said. “Or do we look at further consideration to sourcing companies?”

Linton said the district has spoken to a few sourcing companies to inquire about services. She said a recommendation to the board of trustees will be made “pretty quickly” in preparation for the upcoming school year.