Chicago Public Schools Struggling to Find Subs

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CHICAGO — Many Chicago Public Schools are struggling to find substitutes to teach students when teachers are absent — a problem which surfaced even before a flu outbreak struck the city, according to

Some schools report only being able to fill as few as a third of vacancies on any given days, leaving principals and other teachers to scramble to lead classes across the city.

“There’s a district-wide shortage of subs in Chicago Public Schools,” Katie Konieczny, principal of Lincoln Park’s Oscar Mayer Magnet School, said during a recent Local School Council meeting.

On an average day, CPS has about 1,100 teachers who are absent, out of about 30,000 teachers, district spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus said.

Despite a pool of 3,000 subs, many schools say they can’t find enough teachers to fill in at the last minute.
Konieczny said about twice a week, when the school calls the district’s sub center, they are unable to find a teacher to fill a classroom.

“There are times when we are having six people out of the building and two subs are sent here,” she said at a LSC meeting last month.

Sainvilus said the district is “experiencing some challenges staffing subs this year” because a high number of subs from last year’s pool found full-time teaching positions within the district. She said the district is doing an “aggressive recruiting campaign.”

A Chicago Teachers Union official said Tuesday she was encouraged to hear CPS was attempting to address the problem.

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