Danville considers raising pay for subs

DANVILLE — Danville school board members on Wednesday could vote on whether to increase the pay for substitute teachers.

Under a proposal, the daily pay rate for substitutes would go to $90, up from $85, the district's rate for five years.

A special daily rate for substitutes who are retired district teachers would be set at $115.

And long-term substitutes would be paid at the same rate of a first-year teacher, starting on the subs' 11th day forward.

The Danville school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/TxUDkV.

"There are days when we run out of subs," Superintendent Mark Denman said. "We're recommending this modest increase to allow us to better compete for the sub pool."

Human Resources Director Kathy Houpt proposed the pay changes to increase the district's active substitute teacher roster, which she would like to keep at 60.

In a memo, she said that while teacher attendance is "excellent," there are times when substitutes are needed. However, she's having trouble finding qualified people for the job.

"When we are forced to leave a position unfilled, this causes disruption to our buildings to cover classes, as well as causing a disruption to our students' education," she wrote.

Houpt researched the daily rate for other Vermilion County districts as well as Champaign and Urbana's. The smaller districts pay $75 to $86 with most paying $85; Champaign pays $85 and Urbana pays $90.

She estimates the increase would cost the district $16,255 a year.

Houpt also said she would like to offer the slightly higher rate to retired district teachers as an incentive to come back and sub. That would improve instruction.

"They are already familiar with our curriculum, our materials, the different instructional programs we use and our rules and regulations," she wrote. "If they return to buildings where they previously worked, they may already have relationships with our students and staff."

Substitute teachers must have a bachelor's degree, though not in education.

Also at the meeting, representatives with PMA Financial of Naperville, the district's bond adviser, will present scenarios for issuing bonds, which officials are considering to help fund the East Park Elementary School renovation. No action will be taken on the matter on Wednesday.

In 2010, officials outlined a plan to issue different kinds of bonds in two phases to help finance the district's three major building renovations, which also included South View and North Ridge middle schools, being done over a three-year period.

In 2011, the district issued up to $17.5 million in general obligation school bonds and up to $6.75 million in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, without increasing the district's tax rate.

"Now we're looking to do our second phase," Denman said. "This will be a much smaller issuance, and our hope is we won't affect people's overall tax bill."

Officials originally discussed issuing $8 million in bonds during the second phase. But the equalized assessed valuation of property in the district has decreased, so now they're looking at issuing $6.5 million.

Denman said the district also saved a little more than $4 million in funds for the project..

Last week, architects with Schmidt Associates of Indianapolis told board members that the base bid for the East Park renovation is estimated at $10.75 million to $11.75 million, and another $1.55 million to $2.3 million for alternate options.

In other business, David Schnelle, the city of Danville's urban services director, will present design plans for Phase 1 of a three-phase project to improve the Danville High School corridor.

The project calls for rebuilding the parking lots and a large grassy area west of the high school in a way that controls and collects storm water runoff, reducing erosion in the Stoney Creek area east of the high school and improving the quality of the water running into the watershed.

It will also add handicapped parking and improve traffic flow, pedestrian access, safety and aesthetics around the high school.

The project would be paid for with a $750,000 grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which will cover portions of the design and construction, and $574,000 in local funds generated from the city's Midtown tax increment financing district.

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