To help address a substitute teacher shortage in the area, the Williamson County Schools board of education approved a pay raise during its Nov. 16 meeting to help attract more teachers to the district.

“Traditionally, our substitute staffing [fill] rate is somewhere about 85% on a daily basis,” WCS Superintendent Jason Golden said. “Right now, it’s in the 40s. So it’s been a really difficult issue for us as a result of COVID-19.”

The district will raise the daily pay for uncertified substitutes to $100—a $15-$30 increase. Certified substitutes will receive $120—an increase of $30 per day.

WCS requires substitutes to have a high school diploma and additional training from the district once they are hired, according to district staff. The district will pay training fees for those who are hired.

Golden said many of the substitute teachers that usually teach in the district have not returned this year.

“Vickie Hall, our HR director, reanalyzed the data that we’ve gotten from our substitute teachers about why they’ve said no. The vast majority of it is just a discomfort with COVID-19,” Golden said. “Our goal is that moving up that minimum to $100 daily might incentivize those who haven’t been [substituting] for us who have that ability to come and serve, especially during this holiday time. It’s not perfect, but it’s what we feel we can afford right now.”

Golden said the district is facing a teacher shortage, particularly with teacher assistants.

"We have open positions right now," he said. "It is a challenge on normal years, and it is definitely a challenge this year."

Residents can learn more about the district's substitute teacher hiring process here.