Dutton: Bill would save schools millions
Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Created: 02/27/2011 07:02:29 AM PST

Sen. Bob Dutton has introduced a bill that would save money for local school districts by creating a statewide pay scale for all substitute teachers.

Under Senate Bill 266, school districts could pay all substitutes the same wage, regardless of tenure, thus saving school districts millions of dollars per year, according to the Rancho Cucamonga Republican.

The bill would provide school districts with relief from substitute teacher pay requirements which are causing more teachers to be laid off and additional school programs to be cut, Dutton said in a news release.

“We need this simple change in the law to help school districts around the state balance their budgets without having to cut classroom resources,” he said.

According to the state Education Code, school districts are required to give laid-off permanent teachers the first right of refusal for any substitute position, based upon seniority. It further requires school districts to pay these teachers at their old salary rate if they substitute for at least 21 days in a 60-day period.

But some local educators are saying the bill is unfair and needs to be polished.

“This was never a problem until most recent years when we had to do all these layoffs,” said Guy Roubian, director of human resources at the Ontario-Montclair School District.

“I think there needs to be some sort of middle ground that is appropriate … something in the middle makes more sense, and something that recognizes veteran teachers.”

Although the proposed bill wouldn’t affect the Ontario-Montclair School District because it has not issued layoffs, Roubian said it could pose a problem for districts who have done a lot of layoffs.

For example, Riverside Unified School District paid $268,000 in excess substitute teacher pay for the 2010-11 school year, according to an analysis of Dutton’s bill.

Dutton stressed that the bill would not change the provision where recently laid-off teachers are the first called for substitute positions, just the pay provisions.

Gregg Solkovits of United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents 45,000 educators in the region, suggested creating a contract for substitute teachers where they would get paid a regular salary with benefits.

“This would create stability and professionalize the substitute profession and create incentives for people to make a career out of this,” he said.

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