Winterset Community School District, as well as several other schools, are struggling with substitutes. Many ideas were suggested at the board meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, to help remedy the situation.

Dr. Susie Meade suggested that teachers use the tele-health option for doctor’s visits. This is available through the insurance plan. How it works is the teacher would call the doctor and be put on a waiting list. Within half an hour, they would receive a call back and be able to go to Montross Pharmacy to pick up their prescription. This method would be quicker and more efficient, causing teachers to not have to miss a full day for a doctor’s visit.

Another viable choice is the 90-minute option. Basically, teachers would be allowed to either miss the first hour and a half of school or leave that amount of time early from school. By planning ahead and scheduling doctor’s visits for the earliest or latest time possible, then the district does not have to get a substitute.

To encourage teachers not to miss as many days, the concept of “cashing in” up to two personal days for $135 each was implemented for the 2019-2020 school year. Also, certified staff who miss no days will be given a bonus of $500.

“I don’t want people to think that we’re saying ‘come to school sick’ ...  but it is somewhat important for us to be cognitive of that as well,” said Meade.

For substitutes themselves, the daily rate was raised from $115 to $135 since some substitutes were going to Waukee for the $140 per day rate. Long-term pay, after 11 days in the same position, was increased to $175 from $149. Additionally, substitutes will receive a bonus of $500 if they work 100 days during a calendar year.

Dr. Meade encourages community members with a bachelor’s degree to take a course in order to get their substitute teacher certification. By doing this, more subs will be readily available to the district.

All of these suggested action plans were passed by the board. It is the hope that they will help substitutes to be less needed and more available.