How Clovis Municipal Schools Competes for Substitute Teachers
Clovis Municipal Schools in New Mexico is offering Wagestream through Frontline’s Absence Management as a benefit to help grow the sub pool and increase fill rates.
Clovis, New Mexico
Product & Solutions
What can districts do to attract more substitute teachers? What can they do to entice the substitutes who are already part of the pool to accept jobs?
Clovis Municipal Schools (CMS) has been deeply affected by a lack of applicants for teaching positions, often relying on long-term substitutes to staff classrooms. Located in Clovis, New Mexico — a military town with an airbase nearby — it has about 1,200 employees, 700 of which are teaching positions.
Andrea Bell, a Certification Specialist who works closely with the district’s substitute teachers, says 50-55 long-term substitutes work in the district every day. With a substitute pool of about 200, that means fewer are available to fill in when teachers are out for the day. Less than 70% of the substitutes in the pool are actively taking jobs at CMS.
“It’s hard for us to fill positions. There’s a huge teacher shortage nationwide, and so we have a lot of openings. While we’re trying to fill those openings, we’re having to put subs in there, and that’s where our crisis is.”
Competing for Substitutes
The tug-of-war for active substitutes is increasing. Most work in multiple districts in the area, and other employers are vying for workers as well. Andrea says that CMS is adding incentives to grow their pool and encourage substitutes to accept jobs. “We’ve increased our rates quite a bit and next year we’re adding some different tiers to try to get people recruited.”
“A lot of our population lives on the brink of what we would consider the poverty line,” says Brandon Boerio, Director of Educator Quality. “The increase in sub rates for next year is twofold. One, it’s to try to help shore up our sub pool and get them to work more often, but two, it’s to help our community keep up with the cost of living and continue to make the schools an attractive place to work.”
Wagestream: An Added Benefit
School districts can’t raise wages indefinitely, so any added financial value CMS can offer is a plus. That’s why the district is making Wagestream available to its substitutes, which offers flexible pay and allows substitutes to access a portion of their earned wages immediately after working, rather than waiting for pay day. This is valuable because of the time that passes between hours worked and when wages are paid — a gap that might not seem like much to many people but which can hit lower-income households particularly hard.
“We’re off by a two-week window and that does cause some concern for people, especially as they enter either Christmas break or we start to get to summer break. Sometimes people have worked, and they think they’re going to get paid and then there’s this gap, because we need time to confirm that they actually worked and rectify it with the payroll,” says Brandon.
Andrea and Brandon came across Wagestream when CMS’s Deputy Superintendent and the Executive Director of Talent Management & Development heard about it at a conference. “They were excited right away, because that would certainly fill a need for some of our people that if they needed to have access to money right away, they could at least have some access,” says Brandon. “We were excited because we know that that flexibility and having access to funds would be a huge piece for a lot of our subs. They, too, are in a boat where they’re working just to make ends meet.”
Andrea and Brandon glad to hear that offering Wagestream won’t impact their district payroll processes, and they plan to promote it as a benefit to substitutes during onboarding for the next school year. “We hope that will help with recruitment of subs and just getting them on board and working,” says Andrea.
“We want to do anything we can do to be competitive and be the most attractive option. And then the next step is just a convenience to our own employees, because we do have a large group that are very committed to us. I think if we can offer this, and it would just be one more benefit, then it’s a bonus for us.”
– Director of Educator Quality