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Colby K-12 increases pay for substitute teachers

Substitute teachers in the Colby School District will get paid more for coming to cover classes after the school board approved increases in their daily pay rates last week.

At its monthly meeting on Dec. 21, the board approved a new substitute teacher pay schedule as recommended by the district’s administrators. With COVID-19 quarantines resulting in many regular teachers being kept home for two weeks at a time, the district has struggled to find enough substitutes this year.

Superintendent Steve Kolden said the goal was to boost the compensation slightly above what other school districts in the area are paying.

Under the new pay schedule, shortterm subs will see their pay go from $95 to $125 per day plus a free lunch. Those who teach more than 30 days in a school year will see their daily pay increase from $105 to $135, and those who sub more than 40 days will go from earning $115 to $145 per day.

Board member Cheryl Ploeckelman said she liked the idea of both increasing the pay rates and providing free school lunches for short-term subs, who often get called in early in the morning to cover for a teacher. “There’s no time for them to pack a lunch,” she said.

The board’s action was a first reading, so the raises will need to be approved a second time on Jan. 18 before they take effect.

_ The board approved the hiring of Zaira Navarro as a high school English Language Learner teacher’s aide.

_ The board accepted a donation of paint and labor from Frane Auto Body for the high school stage doors and a donation of lumber from Menzer Lumber & Supply for high school tech ed.

_ According to an annual report from Northcentral Technical College, 124 Colby High School students completed 546 dual credit courses last year, saving their parents $32,218 in tuition costs.

_ The board approved student fee increases for several high school classes, including a hike from $10 to $20 for painting; art and metal design; ceramics; construction; welding and advanced welding, and all levels of woods, metals and graphic design. A new $20 fee will be implemented for Girls in Technology, Basic Foods, Advanced Foods, Worldwide Cuisine, Baking and Culinary Arts classes.

The fee increases were a first reading, so they will need to be approved a second time in January.

_ The board approved the 2021-2021 school calendar, with the first day of school on Sept. 1, 2021, graduation on May 27, 2022, and the last day of classes on June 3, 2022.

_ The board approved an extension of medical leave benefits for teachers and support staff whose work schedules are affected by COVID-19.

_ The board approved a change to the district’s post-employment benefits, allowing staff to get pre-paid some of their accrued benefits as a salary increase before they retire. Kolden said this will give staff more flexibility without costing the district any money.

_ The board approved a series of languages changes to the employee handbook recommended by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.