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Spokane Public Schools approves emergency pay raise for substitute teachers

The SPS board decided to raise pay for substitute teachers to $200 per day as it deals with COVID-related staff shortages.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Public School Board could decided on Wednesday night to give substitute teachers an emergency pay raise.

The board increased substitute pay to $200 per day for the remainder of the school year. The current substitute teacher pay rate is $150 per day.

The action item came amid a shortage of substitute teachers to cover staff absences within the district. SPS has closed schools for several days in January because of COVID-related staffing shortages. Those days will be made up later in the school year.

SPS reports it has a pool of 424 certificated substitutes but said only 30% are accepting substitute assignments right now.

“As we work to continue in-person learning in an environment of high COVID case counts, we need to incentivize substitutes to accept positions,” said a written statement in the board agenda. “An increase in substitute teachers accepting positions will assist with the continuity of in-person learning.”

The emergency pay increase will be tied to the Washington State COVID-19 state of emergency. That means if the state of emergency expires before the end of the 2021-2022 school year, the emergency substitute teacher pay increase will also expire.

If the state of emergency remains in place, substitutes will be paid the higher $200 rate through the end of the school year. The rate would return to $150 for the 2022-2023 school year unless the board takes action to extend it.

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