South Carolina schools dealing with substitute teacher shortages

CHARLESTON S.C.- (WCBD) – As a new school year starts, South Carolina school districts are dealing with a shortage in substitute teachers.

The Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA) says that the shortage was here before the pandemic, but COVID-19 made it worse.

“People are less willing to go into a building as a substitute teacher in the middle of a pandemic and expose themselves to something,” said Patrick Kelly, the PSTA’s Director of Government Affairs.

There are reasons that finding fill-in teachers is difficult beyond the pandemic’s impact.

School districts are having a hard time attracting applicants for a number of reasons, including that substitute teachers make a low salary.

“Districts are finding themselves in an increasingly competitive job market. Substitutes do not receive benefits traditionally. They are part time, daily employees,” said Kelly.

But, Kelly says that some school districts are offering large pay increases to applicants as COVID-19 impacts schools.

“As more and more teachers are going out on quarantine and we’re already seeing it to start the school year across the state, districts are having a harder time filling those positions,” said Kelly.