Local News

Vance County schools to use subs less frequently

Posted March 16, 2009 1:56 p.m. EDT
Updated March 17, 2009 6:50 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.