FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — So far it has been smooth sailing for Franklin County Schools this year, but they are facing an issue that could be a bigger problem down the road.
They say they are dealing with a shortage of substitute teachers.
"It's concerning when we find out that we don't have enough substitutes," said Matt Osborne, the principal at Elkhorn Elementary School. "They're an important part of keeping our schools running smoothly."
Osborne says he himself has had to cover classes in the past. Franklin County Schools Human Resources Director Jennifer Perkins says sometimes they use all of their subs in a day.
"There are many days where we do not have enough to cover classrooms," Perkins says.
This isn't a new issue, though. It's something Perkins dealt with when she was a principal. With COVID-19 an ongoing threat and teachers maybe needing to quarantine during the year, there's more of an urge to get more substitutes.
"We just continue to find ways with the people that we do have in the building," Osborne says.
In previous years with not enough substitutes, they have moved students to other classes for the day. With contact tracing and social distancing, that's not much of an option this year.
"We have offered stipends to our teachers to give up their planning to do their planning in the afternoon," Perkins says.
That allows them to fill in for other teachers. Perkins says they have 22 full-time substitutes. Seventeen of those are emergency certified. According to the Education Professional Standards Board, you can be an emergency substitute teacher without a teaching certificate. You can see the requirements here. You need at least 64 college credits.
"I don't think a lot of people know that," Perkins says. "When we go to get more staff on board, we are actively advertising that to try and onboard more substitutes."
Everybody will go through a background check, but Perkins says onboarding can take just a day or two. She says even if they had 50 substitutes, that would be appropriate.
Just like that, you can be a part of the solution.
"Being a substitute is a fantastic job and an opportunity to make a difference in kids' lives and have a positive impact on them," Osborne says.
To apply for a substitute teaching position with the Franklin County Schools, click here.