Substitute teachers in Howard County will earn $10 more a day, beginning in January, the county Board of Education decided last night.
Substitutes who have degrees now earn $65 a day filling in for an absent teacher; those without degrees $55 a day.
Effective Jan. 24, they will be paid $75 and $65, respectively.
"The bottom line is there's such a tight labor market that good substitutes are hard to find," said Joe Staub, president of the Howard County Education Association, which represents teachers in labor negotiations with the county and which supported the increase.
Board members hope that increasing the pay will make the job more attractive to potential qualified substitutes, who often decide to work in nearby Montgomery County, which pays more.
And it was time to boost the pay, board members said.
"I think it's very important," said board member Laura Waters, who was a substitute teacher in Howard for at least 10 years. "It's hard to make a living on such a small amount because it's very uncertain [when a teacher may be absent]."
Staub said he hopes the board also will increase the pay of first-year teachers.
A board-appointed committee on teacher recruitment and retention probably will make a recommendation that it be done soon, he said.
Howard County pays recent graduates with bachelor's degrees $29,006 a year to teach.
Howard's starting salary is ranked 10th in Maryland, trailing such counties as Calvert, Prince George's, Baltimore, Charles and Harford.
Montgomery County has the highest starting salary in Maryland for teachers, at $31,669.
Despite the perks of working in a stable, high-achieving system such as Howard, "I don't know that top-notch college graduates will ask, 'What's the 10th highest-paying school district in Maryland?' " Staub said.
And the district more than likely will be looking for more teachers next year.
Also last night, the school board approved an administration request to seek a state class-size reduction grant that would help fund 12.5 additional teachers.
Those positions would help reduce class sizes in first and second grade to 19 pupils per teacher.
The $522,124 Title VI Maryland Learning Success Program State Class Size Reduction grant would be combined with an existing $411,936 federal grant.
The district would be responsible next year for funding 19.5 more teachers which -- with the grant-funded positions -- would provide enough new teachers to reduce class sizes to 19 in first and second grades in all 37 county elementary schools.
The board voted last year to reduce first- and second-grade class sizes to 19.
Seventeen elementary schools have the reduced ratio in both grades.
The remaining 20 have the lower class size only in first grade.
Pub Date: 10/29/99