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BOBBY ARDOIN Editor/Consulting Writer

St. Landry Parish public school officials are hoping that a funding increase for short term substitute teachers will help eliminate the search for temporary certified classroom instructors.

After discussing a short term substitute shortage during January committee meetings and again during a regular meeting held last Thursday night, school board members agreed without opposition, to alter the pay scale for short term substitutes from the current $70 to a maximum of $90 for each day they spend in a classroom.

The new pay scale for the short term substitutes does not affect long term substitute personnel and becomes effective March 1.

The short term pay increase will boost the substitute line item in the current general fund budget by about $57,600, according to Finance Director Shaun Grantham.

Grantham told board members during the committee and regular meeting that she originally had allotted $145,000 for overall substitute pay in 2023-24.

However board members Hazel Sias and Milton Ambres pushed heavily for amending the budget and adding revenue to augment  the substitute pay increase during the committee and the recent board meetings.

Sias said on Thursday that board members have routinely discussed substitute teacher pay increases, but had never agreed on a specific amount.

Committee members were originally provided with an $80-per-day increase proposal for substitutes, but Sias and Ambres each said that amount was not sufficient.

“We need to start getting some certified teachers into our classroom. They’re not going to be coming for $70. Our kids are suffering,” Sias said.

During the January committee meeting, Grantham said she feared that incrementally raising the pay for one group of employees, might lead to others eventually also asking for increases.