WATCH: Hamilton Southeastern School District deals with substitute-teacher shortage

FISHERS, Ind. – It’s a teacher shortage of a different kind, and one that Hamilton Southeastern School district is trying to combat with some changes.

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Andrew Stevens has been a substitute teacher for HSE for 4 years, working in a variety of grades with all sorts of kids.

As a working dad who has children in the district, this setup is ideal for him, but there’s another plus to the job.

“I love working with the kids,” Stevens said. “(I love to) build positive relationships with them – help them grow and mature.”

Stevens loves being a substitute and says he plans to stick with it for some time, unlike a growing number of his colleagues, who are no longer in the sub pool for the district.

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HSE says it has to set up substitutes for 25 to 70 classrooms a day, and doing so is harder than ever.

“In the short term, I think it could be problematic,” HSE Human Relations and Student Services Director Gary Zgunda said. “Not just for HSE, but for schools in general.”

For the first time in years, there are 10 full-time sub openings that have yet to be filled, months into the new school year.

Zgunda says there are a couple reasons he suspects the district is struggling to fill these spots.

The first?

“As a result of an improving economy, folks have different options, especially when it comes to full-time employment,” he said.

The second is the overall teacher shortage. It has new graduates – who used to substitute teach until they could find a full-time job – now getting a teaching position right out of college.

Because filling the sub spots has been so difficult, HSE has come up with a plan that the school board will vote on Monday night.

Every sub will make $5 more a day if it’s approved. It may not seem like a lot, but the district hopes it’s enough for subs like Stevens to stick around, rather than head to better-paying districts nearby.

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