MOJAVE — The Mojave Unified School District Board of Trustees approved performance bonuses for substitute teachers, in the hopes of retaining more much-needed personnel.
“We have been struggling, along with every other district in our general vicinity as well as nationwide, to get enough substitutes for the classrooms,” Superintendent Katherine Aguirre said during the Board meeting, on Tuesday.
The need for substitutes has been impacted by teachers who must self-isolate due to COVID exposure, as well as the more everyday illnesses and emergencies, she said.
The performance bonuses for certificated substitutes are in a tiered system, based on the number of days they work in the District.
The bonuses begin at 50 days of service with $1,500, and an equal amount for every 50 days after that. The maximum bonus that may be earned is $4,500.
Bonuses will be paid in a lump sum at the end of the year, according to the staff report.
To qualify, substitute teachers must maintain a valid teaching permit with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and an up-to-date tuberculosis screening.
The Board earlier increased the daily substitute pay in order to be more competitive with other school districts. This bonus system is on top of that and is intended to help maintain substitute teachers within the District.
“Hopefully, we will have a more consistent group of substitutes working with our students, who can then also participate in the professional development and keep our curriculum going when we have so much of a need,” Aguirre said.
Trustee Larry Adams made the motion to approve the bonuses, but with a caveat.
“I don’t think it’s going to do any good,” he said. “We’ve done it about six or eight times since I’ve been in the district.”
What is needed for substitute teachers is a set plan for them to follow and ready assistance when they need help, he said.
“We definitely need to attract them before we can help them,” Aguirre said.