BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - To combat staff shortages, Beaufort County announced a competitive wage increase for substitute teachers and bus drivers.
The new pay is effective as of Nov. 3rd.
Bus drivers will now make $18 an hour, up from $13.56 an hour, certified substitutes will make $153 a day, instead of $103 a day, and non-certified substitutes will make $130 a day, an increase of $50 a day.
“I have been subbing in Beaufort County Schools for 40 years,” said Mary Cole. ”We need more money. We have been needing this for a long time. After all, I do enjoy what I do, but I want more money!”
With teachers out for quarantine, disagreeing with masking policies, or changing career paths, empty desks need to be filled.
“We are all hands on deck,” said Kelly Makepeace, P.S. Jones Middle School principal. “Admins are going into classrooms, counselors are going into classrooms, and it’s just taking all of us to go ahead and make sure that the students get the instruction that they need.”
Providing instruction is just one struggle of the Beaufort County school system. The district is also scrambling to get students from their homes to the classroom with a shortage of bus drivers.
“Right now, we have teachers driving buses, we have coaches driving buses, and we have one of our assistant principals that drives every single day because we do not have enough bus drivers,” explained Makepeace.
With a return to the normalcy of in-person instruction, the administration hopes to also return to normal job duties, something that can’t happen with the lack of school staff the county currently faces.
“With this pay increase, it makes us competitive with the other job opportunities that are within our county.”
The competitive pay could be enough to entice both new and former employees to lend a hand.
Tianna Spencer-McClain, a former teacher’s assistant, substitute, and bus driver in Beaufort County, said, “That’s a lot more of an incentive. I’ll come back and sub. $153 a day? That’s a lot of money.”
As the price of gas and other goods rises, an increase in funds is necessary for some employees to stay afloat.
“We need this increase, we really do," said Cole.
Beaufort County Schools works on a monthly payment schedule, so for the hours worked in November, employees will wait until their December checks to see the bump.
Applications are open and positions are available. Visit the Beaufort County Schools website or stop by the administration office at 321 Smaw Rd, Washington, NC 27889 for application information.
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