June 1, 2008
By Cullen Edmunds, Manchester, NH

Every year the Manchester School District is short on cash, and every year it wastes over $1,000,000 that could be used for supplies or to fix some of the facilities that are in dire need of repair. Where does this money go? To pay for substitute teachers.

Every year, hundreds of substitute teachers, are hired by the school district to fill in when a teacher calls in sick. The sub usually hands out a useless worksheet, then takes attendance. A substitute will rarely conduct a lesson unless he or she will be in for a few days and the lessones were planned out beforehand. Howeve rthe majority of substitutes are are for only one day. Why does the school district pay an average of $75 a day per sub for these temporary employees when no money need be spent?

In Central High School, when there is no sub availabile, students are given a “Free Mod”, an empty period. A sign in sheet is placed on the classroom door, and the students are expected to sign in and report to the cafeteria. If they need to get some work done, they may go to the library. When a sub is availible, the process is mainly the same. The sub takes attendance and passes out classwork, a problem which is easily solved; a folder with the assignment can be placed on the door. The students would take the assignment. And work on it in the cafeteria or the library. The same result is achieved, and no money is spent.

Now, let'ts look at the figures. On average, each Highschool has on average 12 subs per day. Thats 36 subs a day for the three highschools in the city. Each middle school employs on average 10 subs per day. There are four middle schools so that is 40 subs per day, plus the high school subs which makes a total of 76 substitute teachers a day. If each sub makes $75 a day, that is $5,700 a day. Multiply that by 180 school days: $1,026,000 a year over a million dollars that the school district could save with just one little change. This extra money could buy some up to date computers, or hire a truant officer for each highschool instead of one for the entire district. The upcoming budget cuts could eliminate sports, which could cause many of the students to move to private schools, and would devastate the students who cant afford private schools. But if subs were eliminated, sports might be kept. A million dollars is to much money for the school district to wate.

Now why hasn't the district eliminated subs? probably because administrators dont want students wandering the halls. There is a simple solution to this problem also; Stricter hall pass rules. If a student is wandering the hall without a valid pass then any teacher could give that student immediate detention. The students who have a legitimate free mod would have a folder of passes with each students name on it in the door.

What the school district needs to see is that a million dollars could be put to a much better use than substitute teachers.

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