Las Cruces Public Schools creates plan, solutions addressing substitute teacher shortage

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Las Cruces Public Schools is creating a four-part plan to address the current substitute shortage aimed at compensating teachers, proactively identifying subs and pooling additional resources.

“We’ve learned throughout this pandemic, that responding to changing conditions swiftly is in the best interest of our students” said Ralph Ramos, LCPS Superintendent.

Officials said the plan was created after the first two weeks of school saw an increase in the number of teachers calling in sick against the availability of substitute teachers willing to pick up jobs to cover them.

“We are not alone in this situation,” said Ramos. “A shortage in the workforce is something we currently see across industries at the state and national level. But doing what’s best for students means we have to find a solution immediately.”  

Effective immediately, the district will begin to compensate teachers who volunteer to use their planning period, and work afterhours to do their planning, to cover classes where a sub is needed. The current rate of $100 per day for substitute teachers will also increase to $150 per day on Mondays and Fridays, which are days the district typically sees an increase in teacher absences.

LCPS is also engaging licensed central office staff to cover classes.  Permanent substitutes will be placed across the district to proactively address potential shortages and LCPS will proactively hire a pool of substitutes early in the week rather than waiting to fill vacancies as they arise. 

“Rather than wait for a teacher to request sick leave that morning, and then scramble to find a sub, we’re going to put subs in place first,” added Ramos.  

The district is also strategizing opportunities for long-term subs. Ramos said many substitute teachers go on to become educational assistants or even teachers, “We build leaders. Our district is a professional learning environment for both our students and our staff. Assessing a shortage is an opportunity to create something sustainable.”  

LCPS has been hosting an ongoing job fair geared for subs, promoted on social media and online. Anyone interested in scheduling a Zoom interview can email Jesse Pareo at jpareo@lcps.net.   

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