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Vance County schools to use subs less frequently

Posted March 16, 2009
Updated March 17, 2009

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— Vance County Public Schools will use substitute teachers less frequently as a cost-cutting measure, according to a policy that Superintendent Norman Shearin announced.

Shearin directed principals to use other teachers or staff members to cover classes in most cases when a teacher misses a day of work. The policy applies to emergency situations, such as sudden illness, said Terri Hedrick, a public-information officer.

"We must save every dime we can," Shearin said in an e-mail to principals.

Northern Vance High School Substitutes to be less frequent in Vance

Substitute teachers will still be used when teachers miss work for staff development sessions; during long-term absences when a certified teacher is not available for the classroom; and in cases when a teacher takes medical leave for a personal or family illness.

"The school system is doing everything it can in these difficult economic conditions to keep its work force intact and not have to lay off any employees," Hedrick said.

The county has already eliminated 35 unfilled positions to save money.

Since substitutes are hired by the Vance County Board of Education and work on an as-needed basis, they are not considered laid-off employees.

Despite the shortage of funds for substitutes, Shearin said the district’s overall school budget is in better shape than those in nearby counties.

Jeff Arthurs, a teacher at Northern Vance High School and president of the school’s Parent Teacher Association, said his group was concerned the policy would affect the "level of education." Though the PTA was assured that would not happen, Arthurs said concerns remain about using planning periods for fill-in work.

“We use that time judiciously to plan for the next day or the upcoming days. So, when you miss that time, I think, that's where you have the potential to affect the education level,” Arthurs said.

28 Comments

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  • aceraspire3610esc Mar 19, 7:54 p.m.

    Happy o - the law you posted is interesting. It seems to state that if planning time is taken away from teachers during school day hours while students are present that funds which were given by the generally assembly, to give this planning time, need to be given to the general fund. I wonder if this money is being used correctly?

  • oldfirehorse Mar 19, 10:52 a.m.

    grammaladybug~ Yep, that's right. And they're going to save so much at $75 a day for a sub. Hmmmm, I wonder what, say, a 5% pay cut for Dr. Shearin and the Asst. Superintendent would generate? If I'm doing my arithmetic correctly that's a WHOLE LOT of sub days! But, hey, that's just me.

  • grammaladybug Mar 19, 10:15 a.m.

    When I am out sick, they deduct a day's pay from my check. They then give a portion of this to the sub. So now, if I am a teacher in this district, they will still deduct my pay, but they will just keep it...hmm...

  • manda-panda27537 Mar 19, 9:46 a.m.

    unfortunately my children go to Vance county schools. The level of education is sub-par at best. But what can you expect when you hire teachers who have degrees from the internet, and don't even know what a thesis is?? My son's teacher was not even certified to teach in 7th grade, but the school board said it was ok because she had applied for certification with the state, they were just waiting for approval....I feel she should not have been there until approved, and based on her attitude not even then. But let's face it their is a teacher shortage everywhere, and the pay sucks and the children are getting disrespectful and mean and the parents of some are no better. Guess they take what they can get. If I had my way my children would both be in Kerr-Vance Academy, but in this economy there is no way I could afford it.

  • oldfirehorse Mar 19, 9:45 a.m.

    So poorly thought out as usual Dr. Shearin. Let's make sure all dedicated teachers know that if they are really sick, and not able to work, not only will they not be there for their students, they'll also be over-burdening their peers. That should really encourage those slackers to drag themselves in to work (bringing whatever disease they have with them)! And, the added benefit of cutting into planning time, well now that's just brilliant! That will force most to do their planning at home for free! That's as it should be. Teachers don't need all that free time at home with their families and such! As usual, make Vance County Schools even more unattractive to good experienced teachers (if that's possible)! That way, each new year you'll have lots of vacancies to choose to either not fill, or fill with lower paid new teachers! Cool!

  • 37 Mar 17, 9:32 p.m.

    In these times, they should use more subs. You can get them for only $5. Five... five dollar... five dollar foot long!

    Times are tough. Please try to relax, folks.

  • teacher101 Mar 17, 9:32 p.m.

    It is legal and has and will be done. TA's cover classes when teachers have staff development, teachers/families get sick, whatever and they can't get a sub. It hurts the kids because the TA is suppose to help them and can't give them the additional support they're suppose to be getting. Not only that, but if the TA is there because a student has an IEP - then it is mandated that IEP be followed and if the TA isn't in the classroom, technically those parents could sue because an IEP is a legal document. Watch out people, we're going to be seeing a lot of lawsuits fairly soon among the education. Beware because that means more money down the tubes.

  • NCTeacher Mar 17, 7:51 p.m.

    cj- I really and truly could not do your job. As low paid and underappreciated as teachers are- TA's have it much worse. I admire what you do.

    TA's at our school are occasionally asked to watch a classroom because a teacher had to leave sick, but that is an emergency, worst case scenario kind of deal. The teacher gets sick, the sub can't get there for 30 minutes so the ta is asked to go cover the class for that time.

    No one should be asked to do that for an extended period of time without compensation.

  • HAPPY0 Mar 17, 7:15 p.m.

    115C‑301.1. Duty‑free instructional planning time.

    All full‑time assigned classroom teachers shall be provided duty‑free instructional planning time during regular student contact hours. The duty‑free instructional planning time shall be provided to the maximum extent that (i) the safety and proper supervision of children may allow during regular student contact hours and (ii) insofar as funds are provided for this purpose by the General Assembly. If the safety and supervision of children does not allow duty‑free instructional planning time during regular student contact hours for a given teacher, the funds provided by the General Assembly for the duty‑free instructional planning time for that teacher shall revert to the general fund. Principals shall not unfairly burden a given teacher by making that teacher give up his or her duty‑free instructional planning time on an ongoing, regular basis without the consent of the teacher. (1983, c. 761, s. 88; 1999‑163, s. 1;

  • footballrocks177 Mar 17, 6:54 p.m.

    Let's see--
    1. Teachers are supposed to teach their regular classes (no matter what the teaching area is) and give up their planning times for the teachers that are absent.
    2. Since you are taking the planning time, then the teachers have to plan at home and take away from their family time.
    3. Maybe the teacher shouldn't have a family because someone (including themselves) might get sick and the teacher may have to take off work.
    4. Teachers would have to make all appointments after school hours. We all know that is impossible.

    I really wonder why the teachers even want to work at all.

    In other states, the teachers are paid to give up their planning time to watch a class. So that the ones who need more money can actually earn some. Heaven forbid that would happen in this area. The teachers are expected to sub for free.

    Ah, such is the life of a teacher. The systems want it all for absolutely nothing. As Eeyore would say, "Why Bother!"

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