MONTROSE, N.Y. – Hendrick Hudson School District will begin paying substitute teachers 10 percent less, beginning Feb. 13. The new rate will be effective for all substitute teachers, including those that have already begun covering long-term teacher absences, for between six and eight weeks.
Daniel McCann, superintendent of Hen Hud Schools, said compared to most other school districts Hen Hud pays substitute teachers “lower than most, but not the lowest.” The district is facing a $2.6 million shortfall, to present a budget under the tax levy cap enacted by the state. If the district chooses to present a budget that overrides the tax levy cap, they will have to pass the budget with a 60 percent supermajority of popular vote.
The daily rate for substitute teachers is $80 currently, and will drop to $72 beginning Feb. 13. Currently, long-term teachers are paid $150 daily, and will be paid $135 daily for the six to eight week maternity leaves.
Officials said they hope to save $40,000 annually using this measure, their substitute teacher budget is approximately $400,000 annually. The district went over budget last year by about $40,000, according to Enrique Catalan, assistant superintendent of business.
William Oricchio was the only board member to vote against changing the long-term substitutes pay rate while they are in the middle of covering for another teacher. Oricchio said he was disturbed that the district would not honor its initial commitment to pay the long-term substitute teachers $150 per day, and would change the rate to $135 per day for all substitutes regardless of when they began.
“I don’t think it’s that critical an issue,” said Mary-Pat Briggi, fellow board member, to Oricchio’s question about whether the district might pay long-term substitutes the promised rate for the duration of their stay.
“If people were choosing one job over another I might agree,” said Alice Gottlieb, assistant superintendent of curriculum.
McCann agreed, saying there is “lots of competition for those positions.”
Letters will be sent to the district’s substitute teachers immediately. The letters have already been prepared, according to district officials.