SUWANEE, Ga. - As schools across the country and across Georgia face a need for more substitute teachers, Gwinnett County Public Schools is handing out bonuses and relaxing hiring requirements in hopes of attracting more applicants.
"At the beginning of the year, we were about 30 percent down in terms of substitute teachers we had this year compared to last year," said Bernard Watson, spokesperson for Gwinnett County Public Schools. "We have a pandemic and it’s been tough on everybody, and finding people who want to take a job in an environment when they’re around other people can be challenging."
While the rate of subs covering for absent teachers has rebounded since the beginning of the school year, the shortage that existed before the pandemic remains.
Watson said that every substitute in the county who works at least 25 days between March 1 and May 26 will receive a one-time bonus of $500. Long-term subs in the county, along with all other district employees, will receive the $1,000 bonus that full-time teachers across the state are receiving.
At the beginning of March, both long- and short-term subs got $10 raises on their daily pay, he said.
The district has also relaxed qualifications to be hired as a sub in the county, Watson said, dropping the 60 college credit requirement. Now, a high school diploma will suffice.
"What that allowed us to do was hire college students who are studying education in their first or second year, Watson said.
The bonuses are expected to go to the substitutes after the end of the school year, district officials said.
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