WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s no surprise that teachers get the brunt of student’s coughing and sneezing during cold and flu season.
Wichita Public Schools employs 4,200 teachers and 794 active substitute teachers. When more than 400 teachers call in sick or are absent in the same day, the district runs into a dilemma: a need for more substitute teachers. Schools fill the vacant positions from in-house, using teachers covering other teachers’ classrooms or other classroom aides or building administrators.
“We’re seeing subs daily. The challenge we face honestly is having enough subs to cover all the teachers that are absent,” Wichita High School South principal Cara Ledy said.
While Ledy credits her teachers for doing a great job in preparing for a substitute, there is a running list of teacher absences and substitute needs in her office that is updated daily. But Ledy’s school and other south-side schools may have a greater need than other schools elsewhere in the district, USD 259 Chief Human Resource Officer Shannon Krysl explains.
“One of the things we do know is it’s harder for us to fill positions in the south part of town than it is the northwest part of town,” Krysl said.
To help fill the need, the district is actively recruiting substitute teachers. This year’s 794 active substitutes is up 15 teachers since last year’s 779 thanks in part to the district’s efforts with the workforce alliance.
USD 259 is hosting a substitute teacher recruiting fair on February 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Wichita High School South’s library.
“Having this fair allows some more people to at least come out and find out about it and determine if it’s something they’re interested in or something they can handle so it gives more opportunity for people to be apart of our workforce and be in our schools,” Ledy said.