The Nampa School District passed its levy this week. That means $1.6 million will be used for things like curriculum and building maintenance.
But the state’s third largest district has cut more than $5 million in other areas just in the last few months. That’s a result of two shortfalls. One of the line items taking a big hit in Nampa is the substitute teaching budget.
Last year Nampa spent $771,600 for substitute teachers. This year the district plans to cut $600,000 by using subs only for long term assignments such as maternity leave.
District spokeswoman Allison Westfall says each school is creating its own plan for a no sub school year. She says all the plans will put strain on teachers.
Some elementary schools will use teachers with subjects such as PE or music as subs. They aren’t responsible for a single group of students. If a classroom teacher calls in sick the school would cancel PE or music for the day. Another divides students among other teachers in the same grade when a teacher is gone. Then there's a plan where teachers will fill in for sick colleagues during their prep hour.
“They use that prep time to prepare lesson plans, grade papers. So they’re concerned about the loss of that preparation time,” Westfall says. “And then also just the logistics of making sure classes are covered and students are able to have a positive instructional environment.”
Teachers are also concerned about making life difficult for their colleagues if they call in sick. A citizen’s group is trying to help relieve some of the stress by looking for qualified people willing to sub on a volunteer basis.
The cuts to Nampa’s budget will also impact people who sub in the district. Last year 236 people subbed five days or more at $70 to $85 a day.