Feb 1, 2022 - News

Desperate Sarasota County asks parents to teach

Illustration of two pencils in the shape of a heart.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The chaos caused by the Omicron variant has so depleted public school personnel that at least one local district is turning to a new demographic to lead classrooms β€” parents.

Why it matters: Personnel shortages at schools across Tampa Bay have district officials thinking outside the box to be able to staff classrooms, cafeterias and buses.

Driving the news: Sarasota schools spokesperson Kelsey Whealy tells Axios the district has been advertising for subs and full-time personnel since the beginning of the year. The recent appeal emailed to parents was just the latest step.

  • "If you normally volunteer in our schools or if you have time available, please consider working as a substitute in our district," the email said.
  • It also listed rates of pay for various substitute positions, ranging from $105.68 per day for subs with a high school diploma to $152.09 per day for those with a master's degree.

What they're saying: "We've been in need of a little over 300 subs on most days since the return from winter break," Wheatley tells us. "Pre-pandemic, our needs wouldn't usually exceed the 200s."

The big picture: School districts in Iowa, Texas, Idaho and Colorado have called on parents to fill in as substitute teachers, while officials in New Mexico asked the state's National Guard to step in.

🍎 The bottom line: It takes a village. Sign up to sub in Sarasota or look for opportunities in your district.


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