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Substitute funds reimbursed

September 05, 2000

Substitute funds reimbursed



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


Twenty of Washington County's 47 public schools last year were reimbursed $43,852, the amount left over from the schools' annual substitute allowance, Director of Human Resources Phil Ray told School Board members Tuesday.

The allowance is given as an incentive for teachers to refrain from calling off work. The money not spent on substitute teachers is returned to each school that has not exceeded its allowance. The amount of allowance each school receives is based on the number of substitutable employees each school has, Ray said.

"It's a level playing field," Ray said. "Each school gets a budget for substitutes at the beginning of the year."

Schools that exceed their annual allowances do not qualify for the reimbursements.

Any day out of the classroom that requires a substitute is counted as an absence, including maternity leave and teacher workshops, Ray said

Last year, 15 elementary schools were reimbursed, while two high schools and one middle school received a payback. The Washington County Alternative Learning Center and Fairview Outdoor Center also were reimbursed.

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South Hagerstown High School received the largest reimbursement at $6,282. The Washington County Alternative Learning Center's $230 reimbursement was the lowest.

The returned funds can be used to purchase instructional materials or other items directly related to instruction, Ray said.

In 1998-99, $44,060 was reimbursed to 18 schools, while $34,101 was returned to 15 schools. Over the last three years, a total of $122,013 has been returned.

Ray said the reimbursements doesn't adversely affect the School Board's budget because those amounts were already put in the appropriate instructional substitute account.

He said the incentive program is not set up to deter teachers from calling off because there might not be substitute teachers available to cover their classes.

He said that while there is a national shortage of substitutes, the School Board has increased its pool of substitutes available to the school system. He said the School Board has a list of more than 300 substitutes. The school system employs about 1,300 teachers.

"I think that we're doing a pretty good job recently with substitutes," Ray said.

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