Pueblo schools struggling to find substitutes

Amy Spock, President of the Pueblo County Education Association tells me “We’re having trouble finding enough substitute teachers to cover for our staff and jus
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:25 PM MST
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Pueblo, Colo. (KKTV) - Amy Spock, President of the Pueblo County Education Association tells me “We’re having trouble finding enough substitute teachers to cover for our staff and just subs in general to cover for all of our positions.”

This problem has gotten worse since students returned to school after winter break. The contagious Omicron variant is creating more temporary teaching vacancies than schools can fill.

Pueblo schools have tried various solutions “If there aren’t enough subs then teachers are covering other teachers classes. We’re pulling other teachers to cover those duties. We have had administrators, central office administrators, principles, deans, assistant principals covering those positions as well.”

Officials tell me these measures are not sustainable. Both school districts in Pueblo (D60 and D70) increased pay for substitutes to try and attract more applicants, but so far this has not helped to curb the shortage.

The problem is not limited to teachers either “Its also challenging for us to find substitutes for custodians if our custodial staff is out, or paraprofessionals to meet the needs of ESS students. Its not just affecting teachers it’s affecting all of our positions.”

Spock tells me that this substitute shortage is the latest in a long series of Covid-related challenges, and that the past two years have been extremely challenging for parents, staff, and students at Pueblo schools.

The districts are looking for licensed substitute teachers to fill these positions. You can obtain a substitute teaching license through the Colorado Department of Education.

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