Directors of School Administrative District 17 vote Monday night in Paris to hire an additional educational technician I for Otisfield Community School, which has 24 kindergartners. The unbudgeted salary will be paid from the contingency fund. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

PARIS — With substitute teachers in short supply all over Maine, School Administrative District 17 directors voted Monday to increase pay for those not certified by $25 a day, raising it from $90 to $115.

The increase was recommended by the board’s Personnel Committee.

According to committee Chairman Bob Patry of Waterford, other districts in western Maine pay between $100 and $120. The last pay hike for substitutes was implemented two years ago.

The rate for substitutes working for two weeks or longer with a minimum of two years’ college study will remain at $150.

Superintendent Monica Henson told directors that, generally speaking, there are eight to 10 teacher absences a day across the 10 schools spread over the eight district towns.

She asked directors to approve remote learning when teachers and administrators attend positive behavioral intervention support training days. The training is part of social and emotional learning, assertive discipline and second step curriculum.

“It’s all that we’re doing to support academics that are not part of academics themselves,” Henson told directors. “Our district is part of a grant funded cohort within the Department of Education. Our elementary schools were all part of the grant program but I asked over the summer that we include our whole district, including the middle and high schools. Part of the requirement is that we attend the conference and trainings.

“The reason for remote learning on those days is so that I can take the principals, assistant principals and the teachers who are part of those teams out of their buildings,” she said. “As hard as it is to find substitutes, I talked to DOE about using remote learning, which they were in support of. The education association said that if there was plenty of advance notice they would support it.”

The remote learning days for all schools will be Nov. 5 and Dec. 20-21; and May 31 and April 1, 2022.

Directors unanimously approved Henson’s request.

The board also approved a request to add one educational technician I position to support Otisfield Community School’s kindergarten class, which has 24 students. The salary, which is unbudgeted, is expected to be around $16,500 and will be covered by the district’s contingency fund.

Assistant Superintendent Patrick Hartnett told directors that hiring for replacement and new staff positions has been brisk and busy.

“It’s a difficult climate, as we know, for hiring,” Hartnett said. “That work has been done and with background and reference checks there has been a lot to it. Ninety positions is a lot of new people, considering we have about 600 employees. There has been a lot going on in terms of the onboarding process, too.

“We still have a couple of unfilled positions,” he said. “English as a second language, there is a statewide shortage, as well as with special education.”

Hartnett also touched on vacancies in transportation and facilities. He said Transportation Director Dave Fontaine is working on a plan to consolidate some routes and they are in discussions with RideSource and other transportation services.


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