Bates: $100 daily rate is the lowest in the region; $120 rate will take effect Jan. 1

    After doing some information gathering at a recent gathering of regional superintendents in Bemidji and learning that the Crookston School District pays its substitute teachers less than most other districts around these parts, Superintendent Chris Bates recommended this week that the school board increase sub pay, and the board did just that.

    The pay increase, which will take effect Jan. 1, is from $100 a day to $120 a day.

    Bates said of the 37 districts represented at the Bemidji event that he was able to get information from, Crookston’s substitute teacher pay is tied for the lowest with several other districts.

    Asked by Board Chair Frank Fee if jumping $20 is a bit steep, Bates said that a jump to $110 would still leave the Crookston district on the low end in the region. Increasing the pay $20 now should position the district fairly well for the next two to three years, the superintendent added. He also predicted that once other districts realize Crookston has increased its substitute teacher daily rate, many will follow suit with increases of their own.

    That’s because when school districts are in close proximity to each other it becomes a competitive situation for substitute teachers choosing among more than one opportunity to teach.

    “We need to realize that we’re really not that competitive right now,” Bates said.

    East Grand Forks, for comparison purposes, pays its subs $135 a day. The highest rate in the region is $150 per day paid by Naytahwaush, but Bates said he was told they still struggle to get substitute teachers to work there.

    Special Services Director Kathy Stronstad and CHS Principal Eric Bubna said they’ve both heard from substitute teachers who have driven to East Grand Forks because of the higher daily rate. At $120 a day in Crookston, Stronstad said that might be enough to convince subs to save on the travel time and gas and stay in Crookston.

    Board member Dave Davidson, a retired teacher who frequently subs, abstained from voting on the rate increase.