Substitute teachers at Hayward high schools are getting a raise.
The Hayward Unified School District Board of Education on Jan. 11 voted unanimously to increase the day-to-day substitute teacher pay from $220 to $260 a day. The pay for teachers subbing for two weeks or longer was raised from $240 to $300 a day.
Board Clerk Joe Ramos said he was in favor of increasing the pay to around $295 or $305 per day so that it would be the highest pay offered among nearby districts and be truly competitive. Board President Peter Bufete said monetary compensation was just one way of drawing substitutes to Hayward schools and the district is focusing on other complementary ways to provides value to the subs, such as the workplace culture and professional development resources.
“I think we do need to approach this kind of comprehensively,” Bufete said, adding that the district can reassess at a future date if the increase was effective in recruiting substitutes.
The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the number of substitutes the district had available, dropping from 275 before the pandemic to the current pool of 198, according to data presented by Kim Watts, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources. Teachers that recently retired offered to help as substitutes, Watts said, but the state imposes a six-month waiting period before they can return to the classroom.
Board Vice President April Oquenda asked if the district knew why those teachers had not returned, to which Watts said they had not, but that they are due for doing that survey.
The district had already raised pay for subs from $185 in September 2021, according to the staff report, but neighboring districts followed suit, making Hayward schools less attractive.
“Since our last increase, we have dropped to the fifth highest in the county,” Watts said.
|School district||Substitute teacher daily pay range|
|Fremont Unified School District||$228 to $265|
|San Leandro Unified School District||$250 to $275|
|San Lorenzo Unified School District||$200 to $240|
|Castro Valley Unified School District||$240 to $265|
|New Haven Unified School District||$225 to $245|
|Newark Unified School District||$220 to $250|
|Oakland Unified School District||$284.44|
|Pleasanton Unified School District||$250 to $300|
A pay increase for adult education substitute teachers is expected be brought to the board at a later date, Watts said.
Retention among certificated, classified staff
In terms of its regular staff, the district had 63 vacancies for certificated staff, such as teachers and psychologists that require a credential, at the end of the past school year, which is less than the 110 vacancies the district had pre-pandemic at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, according to data presented. However, the number of vacancies for classified staff, which includes all positions that don’t require a certificate like office and custodial staff, increased from 85 to 113.
Currently, the district has 2,287 employees, of which 1,150, or 50%, are certificated staff like teachers, 157, or 7%, are management staff, 287, or 12%, are educational office and technical staff, 290, or 13%, are maintenance and operation staff, and 403, or 18%, are paraprofessionals and youth enrichment program staff, according to the data presented.
The district retained 90.16% of its certificated staff, such as teachers and psychologists that require a credential, and 86.92% of its classified staff, which includes all the positions that don’t require a certificate such as office and custodial staff, going into the current school year. That was a slight drop in retention for certificated staff from the prior year when 92.41% of the staff returned.
|Reasons for leaving||Certificated||Classified|
|Got another job in the private sector||5||25|
|Had caregiver responsibilities||12||7|
|Dissatisfied with the job||9||11|
|Got another job in public education||55||25|
|Lack of transportation||1||1|
|Declined to answer||12||22|
Charles Jones, Tennyson High School social studies teacher, told the board that 63 vacancies, which amounts to about 5% of the total certificated staff, may not seem like much, but it’s having a significant impact on the ability of the schools to meet the needs of all their students. That’s because those vacancies are in areas like special education and English language development, leaving the remaining staff “so overwhelmed that people are quitting,” he said.
“It should also be a concern that the highest numbers for leaving on the teacher side was relocation, meaning we can’t afford to live here anymore; retirement, meaning that stress and the conditions very likely pushed them out; and looking for another job in public education, meaning that we lost good teachers to another district offering something we don’t,” Jones said.
The district can recruit all it wants, but if it doesn’t fix working conditions for teachers, such as ensuring smaller class sizes and offering competitive salaries, teachers will continue to choose other employers, he said.
“I love working in this district and we’ve come together to fix things and improve things,” Jones said, “so I believe we can do it here as well.”
Broader trends in teacher labor market
More broadly, there was about 16% annual teacher turnover before the pandemic, Tuan Nguyen, an assistant professor of education at Kansas State University, said during a SciLine media briefing in August. Half of those teachers were switching to another school while the other half were leaving the profession.
While national rates pre- and post-pandemic aren’t available, Nguyen said there is some evidence from some states that teacher turnover increased by 1 to 2 percentage points in the past two years, “which is substantial.”
“But it’s not an exodus of teachers by any means,” he said.
At the same time, a survey of 3,621 educations from across the country done by teachers union National Education Association about a year ago found that 55% of educations were thinking of leaving the profession earlier than planned, with higher rates for Black and Latino teachers — 62% and 59%, respectively.
Nguyen said, “Even if those 55% do not leave their job, and we haven’t seen evidence of that, what that tells me is that teachers are stressed out and they’re burnt out.”
If teachers have to work a second or third job and pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets, Nguyen said there isn’t much incentive for them to stay, so higher salaries and retention bonuses can help. Improving the working conditions in other ways can also help districts retain teachers.
“Instead of having them have seven different preps, you know, two or three years in a row, you can reduce that down so they only have, you know, three new preps or two new preps each year,” Nguyen said. “That’s really helpful for teachers. And even minor things that would—or what seems to be minor things are important, such as having adequate classroom resources and materials.”
Targeted policies and incentives are also needed to recruit teachers for schools and subjects that are difficult to staff, such as special education, bilingual education, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
“We need those folks,” Nguyen said. “So, we need to make targeted incentives to get those folks into teaching.”