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Oklahoma legislature passes bill to increase number of days districts can employ long-term subs

Posted at 5:19 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 19:13:25-04

TULSA, Okla. — Currently long-term substitutes can only be employed 90 days out of the school year. But things are changing, as the governor signed House Bill 1050.

The bill bumps that number up to 135, or 145 for those with a bachelor's degree.

"Getting people to potentially come back into the classroom, people who have classroom experience or people who have a bachelor's degree maybe who are potentially interested in education... getting them in the building and seeing what it's all about... that's going to be good for us," Union 8th Grade center teacher Betty Collins said.

In the wake of a substitute shortage and a busy spring season, some teachers tell 2 Works for You they're afraid to call in at all.

"There are days where I am quite sick. But having to do sub plans and get activities together and plan an entire day... write out procedures and everything... sometimes it's easier to just come in and just teach even if you're not feeling so great," Moore Elementary teacher Blake Martin said.

The lack of subs becomes a bigger challenge as class sizes grow.

"When you end up having to combine classes usually those plans kind of go out the window for that day. Plans with 25 kids looks a lot different when you have 35 or 40 in a room," Martin said.

The bill passes in the wake of legislators working to determine an education budget. Teachers said they'll continue to advocate for resources in the weeks ahead.

"Ideally we need to hire more teachers so that our class sizes aren't so big and so when we are having to combine classes there aren't as many students," Martin said.

For TPS, staff said the substitute pool has dropped from 800 to fewer than 400 over the last four years.
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