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Bismarck Public Schools seeks to fill vacant positions with substitutes

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 8:03 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The COVID-19 pandemic is creating teacher and staff shortages in schools across the country, especially in North Dakota.

In Bismarck, close to 130 teachers were absent Nov. 19 for a variety of reasons, and 11 of those spots went unfilled.

When a class isn’t picked up by a substitute teacher, that means other teachers and sometimes principals have to step in and fill the gaps. Many Bismarck Public Schools staff have found themselves juggling in-person, online learning, and another teacher’s classrooms more often than not during this school year.

A problem district administrators are trying to solve.

“We’ve actually done some radio ads, that have helped in trying to recruit not just substitute teachers but even aids. Anywhere that anybody can help us out,” said Bismarck Public Schools Human Resource Manager Stacey Geiger.

Around this time last year last year, BPS could fill teacher absences with subs 94% to 100% of the time, now that percentage has gone down to 72% to 80%.

BPS administrators said that lower percentage is due to subs staying home because medical conditions or they’re in quarantine.

The district is actively recruiting substitutes to solve the problem.

“If they sub for us for 10 days they get a $50 bonus and then after every 20, 40, 60, 90 they get an additional $150 for subbing for us,” said Geiger.

BPS administrators said the severity of shortages changes daily but luckily they haven’t needed to shut any schools down.

Those looking to apply to be a substitute teacher can do so at: bismarckschools.org under the jobs tab.

According to the Bismarck school website, in order to substitute teach, a person must have either a valid North Dakota Teaching License or an Interim Sub License.

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