Substitute teachers want more compensation, respect from district

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Substitute teachers district-wide will attend a meeting at the Wenatchee School District office this afternoon. Subs want more compensation, improved communication with the district, and want to establish their own officially recognized association.

On Nov. 29, at a school board meeting, a group of six substitute teachers hand delivered a report to the Wenatchee School Board and Superintendent Brian Flones. The substitute teachers requested in their report a formal meeting with district administrators and a consideration to raise their pay to $125 per day, according to Suellen Harris, a former Wenatchee Education Association president and teacher, who is taking on the responsibility of leading the group of substitute teachers.

After submitting the report, the group received no response from school district administrators, Harris said. On Jan. 6, a notice was posted in the substitute teacher system, Aesop, notifying subs of the meeting to be held this afternoon, according to Harris.

Attempts to reach district officials were unsuccessful today.

According to documents provided by Harris, Wenatchee and Eastmont school districts pay their subs the least in comparison with other Big Nine schools. Yakima School District has the highest substitute pay in the Big Nine, at $130 per day.

Moses Lake High School pays their subs $126 per day. At Bellevue High School, another 4A school, substitutes are paid $161 per day, according to Harris.

In addition, the substitute teachers would like to form a group, similar to a bargaining unit, in order to be treated fair and equal among the other bargaining units, like transportation, maintenance, and classroom teachers. Harris said that other districts do this, and some don’t, calling it a “wide variety.”

Another hope of the group is to increase communication with the school district and its administrative team, Harris said.

“We want to be a part of the team,” Harris said. “We want a seat at the table with the rest of the district employees when it comes to considering working conditions and compensation.”

Don Shoemake, a Wenatchee High School sub and member of the group, said that there’s a general “attitude of, you’re just a substitute, as opposed to being staff or faculty.”