Skip to Content

Putnam Looking For Ideas To Retain Subs, Drivers

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Looking For Ideas To Retain Subs, Drivers

Putnam County School Board members said they do not want to see the schools having to close because of a lack of substitute teachers or bus drivers.

But both are in short supply right now. Director Of Schools Corby King said the school system runs several people short in both areas daily.

“It doesn’t appear as though this problem is going away at all,” School Board Chair Lynn McHenry said. “This problem substitute and bus drivers is in almost every district. It’s even one of the reasons some of these districts are closing. OK? So with that in mind, I do not want to be in that position. I don’t want to be in the position we are missing out. That would be a terrible position to be in.”

At a work session Thursday night, board members considered multiple ideas to solve the problem. King said he believes COVID has been the biggest impact on substitute teachers. He said many are older residents, even retired teachers, who do not want to take the risk.

“We’re doing better, but we don’t have enough in every classroom, every day,” King said. “Fridays, there are some days where four or five people short. And so then your principals are pulling assistants. They’re pulling teachers from planning period to go cover a class. I mean, so there are struggles.”

School Board Member Celeste Gammon suggested full-time substitutes with benefits who could serve multiple schools.

“They come to school every single day and so we pay them, you know, non-certified or certified,” Gammon said. “Say nobody’s out at Capshaw, but we’ve got, you know, ten out at Northeast, then they go there.”

King said the lack of benefits seems to be the biggest issue in retaining bus drivers. Board Member David McCormick suggested a one-time bonus for bus drivers that would allow them to purchase benefits on their own.

“But I mean, that would give them an incentive to stay,” McCormick said. “You stay, you get the bonus. You’d have to pay your insurance, but at least it would pay your interest.”

Executive staff will look into the ideas as planning begins for the new year budget.


The post Putnam Looking For Ideas To Retain Subs, Drivers appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.