(WKBN) – It’s been almost three months since Ohio’s Senate Bill 1 was enacted which allows schools to hire substitute teachers without a bachelor’s degree.
Some schools have taken advantage of the new law and others say they don’t need to use it, as of now.
There’s been a high demand for substitute teachers this school year, largely due to full-time teachers sidelined by COVID-related issues. However, subs have been in short supply, so some schools have decided to go with Senate Bill 1 to help with this need.
Columbiana Superintendant Donald Mook says they’ve had a lot of success.
“We have some parents and some community members that quite frankly are highly successful, have raised kids,” he said.
Columbiana schools have been going through a company to help them get substitutes, but they say it’s not an overnight fix.
Subs still must be vetted so as that process continues, Mook said the principal and some administrators have had to step in to help teach classes.
“Very, very difficult process. Sometimes the principal is in, sometimes the assistant principal, other administrators are covering classes,” Mook said.
Other schools, however, feel their staffing levels are high enough and that they don’t need Senate Bill 1.
If Campbell City Schools has a call-off, Superintendant Matt Bowen said they use either their long-term substitutes or tutors that are licensed teachers.
“We can quickly pivot titled tutors, which are licensed teachers into the classroom setting, or we can take our everyday substitute teachers that are also licensed and we can put them in the classroom setting,” Bowen said.
Bowen also said he believes they’ve already had the worst of call-offs as the holidays ended and that the bill is unnecessary for their school system.
The district also saw the substitute issue when it made its plan at the start of the school year.
“We knew coming into this year, it was likely that the fall and the winter was going to be very distributed,” Bowen said.
If a school chooses to use Senate Bill 1, could this lower a standard for substitutes? Mook doesn’t think so.
“It’s a short-term solution to a short-term, hopefully, problem,” he said.