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West York boosts substitute teacher pay

Substitute teacher Tabatha Peters, left, of West York Borough, listens to the concerns of student Lexi Mast, 4, during Community Progress Council's Head Start in York City, Friday, Dec. 15, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The West York Area school board on Tuesday approved a raise in its day-to-day substitute teacher pay by a 7-1 vote.

Board member Lynn Kohler voted against the raise — not because he didn't support it, he said when reached by phone Wednesday — but because he did not want other measures that district might take to keep substitutes around to be ignored.

"We're in the process of trying to come up with some nonmonetary actions," he said.

The district's pay raise will put daily pay at $110 for the first 10 days of teaching and increase it to $125 when subs reach 11 days or more, starting in January.

More:EDITORIAL: When it comes to substitute teachers, the law of supply and demand still rules

It was approved Tuesday, Nov. 19. Previously, the starting rate at the district had been $105. 

But Kohler said making subs feel welcome and improving work conditions in the district are more important than $5 a day. He said the district has been considering incentives such as free lunch, and administrators plan to discuss other options Wednesday.

"Everybody tries to start a pay war, and nobody wins," Kohler said.

Voting "no" was more of a symbolic gesture, he said, clarifying that he does support the pay raise, but given the substitute shortage across the state and the nation, the district has to also get better at the nonfinancial parts.

Districts such as Spring Grove Area are taking extra care to make their substitutes feel included — offering administrator visits and food and drink incentives to keep teachers coming back.

More:Bonuses, food and drinks: York districts mull ways to woo substitute teachers during shortage

And officials there say their efforts have helped keep a 97% fill rate for substitute positions on a monthly basis.

West York's pay raise puts the district in line with others across the county with daily rates of $110. Some have had lower rates, such as Dallastown which is at a $100 starting rate and South Western, which has a rate of $105.

The  raise also offers $135 for building substitutes and a quarterly bonus of $500 for any sub who spends 80% of their total time teaching in the district that quarter.

The rates will be in effect from January 20, 2020, through June 30, 2021.