Gov. Little takes steps to expand pool of substitute teachers to support in-person learning

Friday September 10, 2021

Boise, Idaho – With school districts across Idaho reporting substitute teacher shortages, Governor Brad Little announced today new steps he is taking to expand the pool of substitute teachers so students can continue to learn in person.

“My priority throughout the pandemic has been to ensure in-person instruction for our students and minimize disruptions to learning as much as possible. The availability of substitute teachers to step in when needed is critical to ensuring our students have the best chance at success,” Governor Little said.

Some school districts are facing a shortage of hundreds of substitute teachers daily, due primarily to the increased spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks.

Governor Little is putting $10 million toward new “Substitute Teacher Recruitment Grants” so school districts are better able to recruit and retain substitute teachers and other classroom support staff.

School districts may use the funds to provide bonuses for substitute teachers on top of what substitutes already make.

“I urge Idahoans in a position to serve as a substitute teacher or other classroom support staff to contact your school district and get signed up. Idaho students and our communities need you,” Governor Little said.

Governor Little also announced he will provide State of Idaho executive branch agency employees a new benefit – paid time off to serve as a substitute teacher. That means state employees will not have to tap into their vacation or sick leave to serve their communities as a substitute teacher. Interested individuals must meet all the school districts’ requirements to be hired as substitute teacher, and they must pass all screening processes to ensure the safety of school children.

"A key component to keeping schools open for in-person instruction is having the necessary staff," Twin Falls School District Superintendent Brady Dickinson said. "Substitute teachers and other support staff play an important role in this, and I am very thankful for the Governor’s action today as it will provide additional support to schools as we work to provide the very best educational experience to students during these challenging times."

“Our members have routinely expressed the dire need for substitutes and other personnel that are essential for continuing the operations of our public schools. This support from Governor Little will be immensely helpful in ensuring our schools can stay open to in-person learning,” Idaho School Boards Association Executive Director Misty Swanson said.

In addition to the new steps taken to expand the pool of substitute teachers in Idaho, Governor Little recently put $30 million to COVID-19 testing in schools to help minimize disease outbreaks and ensure in-person learning as much as possible.

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