Board still wrestling over long-term sub pay

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 SHEPHERDSVILLE – The issue is slated to come to a head on June 24.

But the future of the long-term sub pay schedule for the Bullitt County Public School System seems far from being decided.

With chairman Tim Wiseheart unable to attend the past meeting, the issue on whether to alter the current format to pay long-term substitute teachers who are in the classroom over 20 straight days was pushed back a month.

The issue was discussed during the school board’s June workshop session.

At stake is a proposal by superintendent Keith Davis to lower the rate of pay for those retired educators who are subbing for a long-term basis. The move, if adopted, would save about $190,000 annually.

However, by lowering the pay given to the experienced educators, the concern is that educational affects it might have on the students as there is a possibility that current substitutes may opt to not work for the district.

Board member Dolores Ashby said she polled a number of principals. Some strongly felt that the decrease in pay would hurt the academic progress. Others were quite as concerned.

Board member Roger Hayes, a retired educator and administrator, said he was definitely against any lowering of the pay.

He said the state is also lowering the amount the retired educators can earn. And for a long-term, Hayes said the retired educator is far superior to a person who has the 64-hour minimum or someone just out of college.

“I want someone with experience and knows how to do lesson plans and to discipline,” said Hayes.

Hayes said the retired teachers are making less than a current teacher and any change would make the situation even worse.

From the principals in the audience, the reaction was also mixed.

Andy Moberly, principal at Cedar Grove Elementary, said it would severely hurt his school.

He said there are four-to-five long-term subs who are regularly in the building and they are part of the Cedar Grove family.

“It would hurt us big time,” Moberly said of any change.

There is a matter of trust between the staff, the children and their parents with the current use of long-term subs, Moberly said.

Marcella Minogue, principal at Freedom Elementary, said her school doesn’t have as many long-term subs.

With 200 applicants for a single teacher opening, Minogue said having some of those who are not successful fill in the classroom is an opportunity for her to see if he or she would make a good prospective teacher.

She said the applicants for the vacancies are very qualified and allowing them to have time in the classroom can be an advantage.

Robert Fulk, principal at Bullitt Lick Middle, said that savings from any change should be used for things such as helping schools in need of support and for things such as mental health services for the students.

He doesn’t have a problem finding quality substitute teachers and there are bigger priority needs than the long-term sub issue.

Denise Allen, principal of Mount Washington Middle, said it is tough on the students when a teacher is out of the classroom for an extended period of time. She said having qualified long-term substitutes with the needed background is important for the students.

In many situations, it is a retired teacher serving as a long-term substitute who has been able to make students successful in the classroom.

Roby principal Gayle Korfhage said there are a lot of needs for more funding, including the funding for textbooks, but she had no answers.

Davis said he knows the retired teachers are very valuable but the board is also responsible for the fiscal stability of the district.

If the added fee for retired teachers who are long-term sub went to $75 additional per day, the district could still save $141,000. If that added fee for providing the responsible, experienced education went to $100 per day on top of their normal per day rate, the district would save $100,000 and would mean that the subs would make about $200 per day.

Or Davis said the board could leave the current format as it is.

But, as superintendent, Davis said there are many needs and the resources are limited.

He alluded to a discussion with Shepherdsville Elementary principal David Pate during his evaluation. Davis said he knows Pate is a quality educational leader as he was successful at Cedar Grove prior to opening the new elementary school.

In a letter of concerns written by Pate, Davis said there are major issues which contribute to the educational challenges, such as a high rate of students classified as being eligible for special needs and the high rate of students who receive free or reduced lunches.

Pate said a major help would be to have an assistant principal, which was eliminated as elementary schools fell under the enrollment standards.

Davis said such a position would help Pate, as well as the faculty and the students.

And there is also a concern from the high school principals about the need for athletic directors to have more time out of the classroom due to the tremendous responsibility and liability the athletic programs have in the county.

Both, as well as many other projects, deserve and need the funding, said Davis.

The matter is expected to be decided at the Monday, June 24, meeting of the Bullitt County Public School Board. The 6 p.m. meeting will be held at the central office and the public is invited to attend. Anyone wishing to speak on any topic must sign in that evening prior to the start of the meeting.