El Paso area school districts face teacher and substitute shortages, offer incentives and mentorship programs


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- El Paso area school districts are facing shortages in teacher and substitute positions.

“We’re definitely short when it comes to substitute teachers and we definitely have some vacancies,” Lucia Borrego, the Chief Academic Officer for Socorro ISD said.

Borrego said the district is looking for ways to get creative and offer appealing incentives to aspiring teachers, qualifying college students and retired teachers to join the workforce.

As KTSM previously reported, SISD increased its substitute pay this year.

ExperienceFormer substitute teacher payNew substitute teacher pay
30 hours higher education$75$100
Bachelor degree or higher$100$125
Long term$135$175

In addition, district officials say that Monday and Friday substitute teacher pay will be $150. Substitute teachers and substitute nurses can earn a $500 retention for 100 workdays per year.

“We’re trying to create as many ideas possible as we can to try and recruit,” Borrego said.

Borrego added the need for teachers and substitutes is crucial this year as the state requires instructional intervention tutoring for students who did not take the STAAR exam or did not pass last school year. Additionally, Borrego said it’s a matter of safety.

We can’t combine classes if we’re short because of COVID-19 social distancing requirements, so it’s very taxing on a school when we’re short substitutes because what ends up happening is everyone shuts down. The librarian has to shut down the library and even the principal, I’ve seen principals in the class because safety is the number one priority.

Lucia Borrego, SISD Chief Academic Officer

El Paso ISD said it too is experiencing the same issue. A spokesperson said EPISD is looking to provide a more attractive compensation package for educators.

This year, EPISD offered a 1 percent salary increase coupled with two stipends of up to $2,000. EPISD also is launching innovative professional opportunities for teachers to help them secure better training and the potential for higher compensation. A spokesperson said, for example, EPISD is launching opportunities for teachers to receive National Board Certification, which could come with up to $6,000 in stipends per year. 

For Fabens ISD, the district has five open teacher vacancies and hired 11 new teachers in July. However, the district is still looking for substitutes as well.

Fabens ISD Board of Trustees approved increasing the pay rate for substitute teachers at all levels with an increase of $20.00 to their daily rate. The following substitute pay rates are:

  • Certified $140/day
  • Degreed $120/day
  • Associates Degree $100/day
  • Non-Degreed $85/day Long
  • Term Sub-after 15 days as a sub for the same teacher, an additional $10.00/day

San Elizario ISD Superintendent Jeannie Meza-Chavez said smaller districts usually competed against the larger districts prior to the pandemic.

Meza-Chavez said the district partnered with Region 19 to put current teacher’s aides through a rigorous alternative certification program to get them certified and into the classroom by the next school year.

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