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Bill to hire permanent full-time substitute teachers is introduced

Delaware Public Media

Legislation filed in the House would allow all public schools in Delaware to hire permanent full-time substitute teachers.

The goal of the bill is to address the state’s substitute teacher shortage at a time when many school districts are struggling to hire substitute teachers because of per-diem pay rates, unpredictable schedules, and inadequate training.

The legislation – HB 315 – would create full-time salaried substitute positions with benefits, and they would only be offered to those with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

The bill allows schools with 30 or more educators to hire one full-time substitute, while schools with 55 or more educators could hire two full-time substitutes.

Rep. Debra Heffernan (D-Bradywine Hundred) is one of the bill’s sponsors, and she says this will also give the substitutes a pathway to become certified teachers.

"I think it's critical for continuity of education, and I think it'll fill a need for individuals that want to get into the profession because they'll be able to use this time as a permanent sub to fulfill the requirements for their teaching hours."

The subs also could receive professional development training to prepare them for a career in education.

Heffernan says this legislation has received support from both teachers and local and state education officials.

"The teacher’s union loves it, they helped me on the bill along with the Department of Education. School districts love it because they have been dealing with such critical shortages."

HB 315 is assigned to the House Education Committee.

The legislation is also sponsored by Rep. Kim Williams and Sen. Laura Sturgeon. If passed would take effect for the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.