Sioux City schools looking to alleviate substitute teacher shortage with substitute solution company

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 6:04 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Like many businesses around the Siouxland area experiencing a shortage of workers, the Sioux City School district has been experiencing a shortage of substitute teachers.

“A lot of strategies and plans and ideas have come across. But at the end of the day, we haven’t yet been able to solve this issue with the substitute dynamic crisis,” said Alarcon-Flory.

To try to help deal with the shortage, the district has proposed working with ESS, a substitute solution company.

Other leaders with the district said ESS will be able to dedicate the time and attention needed to address the shortage. And while the company is based out of Tennessee, Dr. Jen Gomez, Human Resource Director for the district, says those hired through ESS will be local.

“Subs will come from our community. They’ll have a marketing strategy, advertising, grassroots advertising and marketing as well. To get the people in our community to become substitute teachers,” said Dr. Jen Gomez, Human Resource Director.

The district said it’s working to find a plan, to help alleviate the stress and extra work teachers are feeling because of the shortage.

“I believe our association of teachers wants a solution. And we need to probably try something different because what we’re doing is not yielding what we need. And they’re working together, they’re working as a team and they’re supporting one another. But they’re getting tired. And we need to really help them out,” said Dr. Gomez.

The board is expected to vote on a potential contract with ESS at its next meeting on Nov. 22.

Leaders with the Sioux City Community School District say while their sub rate was once around 90%, it has been fluctuating this year, to as low as 70%.

Leaders said they currently have around 270 substitutes. To increase their fill rate, they say they would need close to 500 or more.

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