Hard-pressed for substitute teachers, Brunswick and other schools to offer 1-stop job shopping

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BRUNSWICK — The School Department is struggling to fill substitute teaching positions.

According to the superintendent of schools, it takes about 15 calls to find a willing substitute on any given day.

To expand the pool – which, in addition to teachers includes ed techs, custodians and bus drivers – the department will host a job fair Saturday, March 11, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School.

“You name it, we need them,” Superintendent Paul Perzanoski said Tuesday.

Applicants can also apply for jobs in neighboring districts – RSU 5, RSU 1, SAD 75, Wiscasset, and West Bath – which will also have representatives at the 44 McKeen St. school.

“What we’re hoping is, that this will bring some notice to the fact that we need substitutes for all different types of jobs in the districts,” Perzanoski said at a recent School Board meeting.

At the fair, applicants will have the chance to have on-site interviews, and fill out the various forms necessary to register with the districts – what Assistant Superintendent Pender Makin described as the chance to complete the various registration requirements to teach, all in one go.

“You get in, you get interviewed, and then you are approved for all of the districts,” Makin said Feb. 8.

Applicants should bring a resume, two letters of reference, transcripts (a minimum of 60 college credits is required), and two forms of identification.

Brunswick isn’t unique in its struggle to find adequate coverage, Perzanoksi said Tuesday.

Last year, School Administrative District 75 raised its daily pay by $10 to attract substitutes.

In Brunswick, substitutes are paid $75 a day for their first 10 days, and $100 for the next 1o days; after 20 days, the daily rate jumps to $140.

The district has 299 employees who require a substitute when they are absent, and an average of 20 absences a day, according to Perzanoski. Right now, he said, Brunswick has 131 substitutes “ready on the books.”

Though he isn’t sure how successful the pay increase has been for SAD 75, Perzanoski said Brunswick will look into increasing its rates. Based on his knowledge of area school districts, he said $75 a day is average.

Brunswick has tried other ways to build loyalty with substitutes, according to Perzanoski, such as allowing substitutes to attend professional development days.

“Usually subs don’t have the chance to take part in professional development because they’re not tied to any one district,” he said.

Although he hopes the job fair will be a way for area districts to help one another, Perzanoski noted that competition between districts is a challenge.

That, and a healthy economy.

“When the economy is good, you have a tough time getting substitutes,” he said. “People have more choices.”

Callie Ferguson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100, or cferguson@theforecaster.net. Follow Callie on Twitter: @calliecferguson.

The Brunswick School Department is struggling to find adequate and consistent coverage for substitute teaching positions. There will be a regional job fair for substitutes March 11 at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School.

Reporting on municipal, school, and community news in Brunswick and Harpswell. Bowdoin graduate, Wild Oats sandwich-eater. Callie can be reached at 207-781-3661 ext. 100, or cferguson@theforecaster.net.