Aug. 24—Substitute teachers are getting a raise from Gainesville Independent School District.
Superintendent DesMontes Stewart proposed raising the amount substitutes are being paid per day at the GISD School Board meeting Monday afternoon, based on inflation, the cost of living and what other schools in Texas were paying,
"I asked some of our staff members when the last time was we looked at our sub rates, and it's been quite some time," said Stewart. "Right now, for a certified sub, we pay $85 a day, and I think it's safe to say that that $85 has been in place for probably the last 10 years."
The board enthusiastically approved the raise, and the increase is effective immediately.
Daily rates for substitutes with teacher certifications were set at $150, an increase of $65. The rate for non-certified subs was set at $120; this increases the rate around $55 a day and removes having different rates based on the number of college hours. Long-term sub rates were raised to $130 for non certified subs and $160 for certified subs, which was previously a flat-rate of $100.
Stewart began looking at the substitute rates due to a great shortage of subs.
"Last year, we began paying teachers to utilize their conference periods to sub in classes that did not have them," said Stewart. "I dug a little deeper into this and really began to engage in conversation ... I asked, 'Why do you not serve here every day?' And the response was, 'I can't afford it. I live here in Gainesville ... I like the principal; I like this age kid, but in order to pay my bills and continue to maintain my life, I have to go serve at other districts that pay me.'"
Substitutes can apply by going to gainesvilleisd.org and clicking on "Apply today" in the Substitutes Needed announcement slide. The next substitute training is on Sept. 21 at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the GISD Administration Building. More information is available by calling the Admin Building at (940) 665-4362.
North Texas Medical Center is rolling out a new program for GISD students allowing for online Telehealth visits with the students.
"You get on a computer, on a laptop or on your phone with a provider, and they go through the illness process or the clinic appointment with you that way," said NTMC CEO Tom Sledge. "It would be in conjunction with the school nurse, the child, the parent or guardian and the provider ... It's diagnosing illnesses earlier, getting treatment, which gets them back in school quicker ... This should work where it's seamless and they get the appointment taken care of."
This program will allow students presenting symptoms to get diagnosed and get medicine prescribed while they're at the school, preventing the delay of parents having to pick up their child, make an appointment with their doctor and hoping they can get in. Parents will have to enroll their child in the program, and no medical meetings will be held without parent/guardian approval. Ideally, the student would be enrolled before the Telehealth visit is needed, but the option will be available for parents to enroll kids on that day if needed.
"There are some things that we won't be able to diagnose and treat," said Sledge. "But it is an opportunity to do as much as we can through virtual."
There is no cost to the school, and cost to the families is similar to a regular doctor's visit with a co-pay. Medicaid and most insurance would be accepted, as is the case with most NTMC clinic patients.
"To make sure that we do it right and don't have any kinks in the system, we want to roll it out at Chalmers first because we have a connection there," said Sledge. "Once we get that done and it's working well, we can continue to roll it out through other schools within GISD."
The program is starting with primary care, but as NTMC expands capabilities there is a potential for the program to include specialties like speech therapy, orthopedics and behavioral therapy.