This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
The embattled substitute teacher supplier, Source4Teachers, announced a boost in some of its pay rates last week. There’s been confusion and inaccuracy in past press reports, including our own, about how much the company is paying to whom. So we held up our story on that news to make sure we’re getting the details correct.
It has been a slow process, but the Notebook has finally gotten answers that may clear up some confusion.
The increased pay rates for some substitutes were first announced by Source4Teachers and reported at the end of September, but did not actually take effect until Oct. 16.
The Notebook had erroneously reported that the pay rate for retirees who work as subs had been boosted to $200 per day at the end of September.
The inaccuracy wasn’t simply that the Source4Teachers pay increase didn’t kick in until mid-October. It was not made clear that the new $200 rate only applies to long-term positions filled by “District Originals” – the term being used to describe the 1,100 people who subbed during the 2014-15 school year.
To be paid that rate, it doesn’t matter whether or not the subs are retirees. If teachers are certified, subbed for the District last year, and are now in long-term positions (more than three months), substitutes can earn this new top rate.
If they are not District Originals, no such luck. Certified teachers who did not work for the School District in 2014-15, including many District retirees who couldn’t get hired as substitutes last year, are not eligible for these premium rates. The District has not been inviting retirees to become part of its substitute pool in recent years.
Here are the recently increased rates, as reported by Source4Teachers in a press release last Thursday:
The pay rate changes for District Originals are as follows:
- Daily – Certified teachers will now receive $160.10 per day (up from $110 per day).
- Daily – Uncertified teachers will now receive $126.76 per day (up from $90 per day).
- Long-term – District Original certified teachers who take long-term positions will receive $200 per day (up from $140 per day).
The long-term pay rate changes for new hires are as follows:
- Elementary and kindergarten long-term substitutes will now make $140 per day (up from $110 per day).
- Health, Art, Social Studies, and Music long-term substitutes will now make $160 per day (up from $125 per day).
- Special Education, Spanish, English as Second Language, and Dual subject long-term substitutes will now make $180 per day (up from $140 per day).
“Source4Teachers readily admits that this program got off to a slow start and we want to take the necessary steps to put our relationship with the District on a path for success,” said Kendley Davenport, president of Source4Teachers, in Thursday’s release. “By increasing the daily pay rate for a number of positions, our hope is that both new hires considering long-term positions and those who substituted with the District last year will consider joining us to help fill the District’s classrooms.”
What was missing from the Source4Teachers release is the rates for teachers paper writer who were neither subbing for the District last year nor serving in long-term positions now – including the recent retirees. The latest round of pay increases has not sweetened the pot to lure these teachers who were not previously part of the substitute workforce. The company reports that the pay rates for those substitutes are as follows:
- $90-$110 per day for certified substitutes
- $75-$90 per day for uncertified substitutes.
Last week’s announcement of a pay boost didn’t produce any immediate bump in fill rates for substitute positions.
On Friday, a staggering 600 of 775 positions districtwide went unfilled. Source4Teachers was only able to come up with 151 substitutes, for a fill rate below 20 percent. The District filled 24 positions with reassigned instructional coaches. The low fill rates have prompted continued calls on the District to cancel the contract with the company.
Meanwhile the School District has put out a call for help to its retirees. Still struggling to fill more than 100 teacher vacancies (as of last week), the District is trying to lure retirees back, as District employees, to fill some of its job openings. It is promising to pay them on a per diem basis through June 30. The per diem designation is necessary so the retirees can continue to receive their pensions, according to District officials.
In terms of salary, these are the best options on the table, with pay rates topping out at about $240 per day for senior career teachers.
Notebook intern Catherine Offord contributed to this story.