Some of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s substitute and temporary staff will receive raises for the upcoming school year following a vote in favor of bumping those rates by the school board during their Monday night meetings.
KPBSD’s substitute secretaries, custodians, stock handlers, theater crew, deaf education interpreters, food service cashiers, kitchen assistants, cooks, food service managers, special education aides, instructional aides, tutors and bilingual instructors will all receive pay raises of at least $2 per hour.
Substitute secretaries will now make $18.75 per hour instead of $16 per hour, substitute custodians and substitute theater crew will now make $18 per hour instead of $16 per hour, and substitute deaf education interpreters will now make $25.25 per hour instead of $23 per hour. KPBSD’s food service workers will now make $17 per hour, substitute special education aides will make $20 per hour and substitute tutors will make $18 per hour.
KPBSD’s substitute nurses are compensated based on their level of education. Those with an associate of applied science degree will make $26.50 per hour, while those with a bachelor of science degree in nursing will make $31 per hour for the upcoming school year. The school district’s substitute pool staff are also getting $2 per hour raises.
The board is maintaining the rates of pay for substitute teachers with and without teaching experience at KPBSD, however those rates are now presented as pay per hour rather than pay per day. KPBSD is also building into their base compensation special bonus payments those staff received during the COVID-19 pandemic.
KPBSD’s certified substitute teachers that have at least five years of teaching experience are KPBSD’s highest-paid substitute teachers. Those staff last year were paid $250 per day, which included a base rate of $200 per eight-hour day and $50 per day in COVID-19 pandemic relief. Those staff now make $31.25 per hour, which still amounts to $250 per day.
The base pay for KPBSD’s certified substitute teachers who do not have five full years of KPBSD teaching experience is also staying the same now. Those staff make $28.13 per hour, which amounts to about $225 per eight-hour work day.
Board members approved a reduction in pay for KPBSD’s noncertified substitute teachers. Before Monday, those employees were making $185 per day, including a $25 per day COVID-19 bonus. Those employees will now make $20 per hour, or $160 per eight-hour workday.
In recommending the pay decrease, KPBSD Human Resources Director Nate Crabtree told school board members Monday that the district wants to make that rate of pay comparable to other support positions so that both types of positions are filled at the same rate.
“There was feedback this year that people were holding out for the higher rate and understandably so,” Crabtree said. “I believe that we will continue to have solid fill rates, even with the reduction of those noncertified teaching positions, but it should also help benefit our support roles as well.”
Board member Jason Tauriainen, during a board work session on Monday, suggested that the district implement a new rate of pay for noncertified substitute teachers that have experience substituting in the school district.
“I wonder if we shouldn’t also have a bump for somebody that’s got years of experience within the district, something to keep people here,” Tauriainen said. “I think they honestly deserve it if somebody’s been serving in the district for five years or three years, whatever.”
Tauriainen further said the district should reinstate education requirements for substitutes in light of higher fill rates for those positions. Board members in 2021 relaxed some of the prerequisite requirements it put on people looking to become a substitute teacher, such as replacing a requirement for 60 college credits with a high school diploma or equivalent.
Crabtree, however, said that, while fill rates are currently high, reintroducing that standard could affect the eligibility of people currently serving as substitutes. He ultimately recommended that the board approve the rate changes as presented, with the understanding that changes can be made at a later date if desired.
Monday’s board of education meeting can be streamed on the KPBSD Board Docs page.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that all the KPBSD positions receiving raises are substitute positions.