By Sara Shepherd

Staff writer

HERMISTON — While most teachers and students are settling into their summer routine, the upcoming school year is not that far off.

It's not just the full-time teachers who are preparing for the first day of school, Aug. 28 — it's the 70 substitute teachers employed with the Hermiston School District.

"They are definitely a critical component in the education of our students," said Sheri Marlow, assistant superintendent for the Hermiston School District.

She says that many of the district's substitutes have made a career out of subbing. Many of the subs in the district were once teachers for the district who retired from the district and came back to substitute.

Substitutes are called to work based on the need and the subs' availability, says Marlow.

Through an automated system, teachers can post their absences. At that point, district employees can begin contacting substitutes. Subs also have the opportunity to log-in online and sign themselves up for a job that hasn't been filled.

According to Marlow, substituting is a good way to "test the waters" for those who are looking into a career in teaching.

"Often we hire from our substitute lists for the following school year," she said.

In order for someone to sub for the district, they must have a four year degree as well as a special substitute teaching license.

According to Marlow, the Hermiston School District is very good about paying their substitutes — especially compared to other states.

"People are really quite amazed at the dollars earned as a substitute," she said.

Based on data for 2005-06, the average salary of a beginning teacher with a bachelor's degree is $31,805. For 2006-07, therefore, the minimum pay rate for the first ten consecutive days of substitute teaching is $142.28 per day ($31,805 divided by 190 times 85 percent).

In cases where a substitute teacher teaches for more than ten consecutive days in the same assignment, the Hermiston School District pays $157.60 per day.

According to ORS 342.610, teachers employed as substitute teachers shall not be paid less per day than 85 percent of the daily salary of a beginning teacher who holds a bachelor's degree.

The daily salary is defined as the prior year average annual salary of beginning teachers who hold a bachelor's degree divided by 190 days.

Each year the district welcomes their subs during the substitute teachers luncheon held every August.

"We see lots of familiar faces, but there are always new ones as well," she said.

For more information on how to become a substitute teacher for the Hermiston School District, contact the district office at 667-6010.

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