The Board of Education approved increased rates starting Oct. 24.

The Capital School District Board of Education unanimously approved a proposal to increase pay for substitutes at their Oct. 23 meeting.

The new rates will raise pay by as much as $10 per day, starting Thursday, Oct. 24.

Mary Cooke, the director of human resources, said an increase in pay can help Capital attract high quality substitutes and be more competitive with neighboring districts like Caesar Rodney.

“Our substitute pool is getting smaller and smaller,” Cooke said.

Substitutes get paid differently depending on how much experience they have, breaking down into three classes. Class A substitutes are certified, often retired, teachers; Class B substitutes have a Bachelor’s degree or at least 60 credits toward an education degree, such as a college junior or senior; and Class C includes high school graduates.

Class A substitutes will get a raise of $10 per day, moving their rates from $110 to $120. Class B substitutes will move from getting paid $88 per day to $95 per day. Both prior rates lined up with state standards.

Class C substitutes get paid $70 per day and did not receive a raise.

Cooke said she hopes raising pay will prevent substitutes from dropping out last minute because another district offers a better rate.

Finding high quality substitutes is especially important for long-term positions, superintendent Dan Shelton said.

Gov. John Carney signed parental leave legislation last year that gives full-time state employees, including educators, 12 weeks of paid leave. Many of the board members and district staff mentioned the effect this period can have on students.

“We have to have real teachers in the classroom. It’s a third of the year for these kids,” Shelton said.

Now, only Class A and Class B teachers can be long-term substitutes.

And a substitute is considered long-term after working for the same teacher or school nurse for 10 consecutive days. This was lowered from 20 days, which Cooke said was the longest period in Kent County.

Long-term substitutes also receive additional pay each day, which will increase from $31 to $35 per day.

Pay rates for long-term subs covering 12 weeks of parental leave increased to $200. This matches what Caesar Rodney pays their substitutes for parental leave, Cooke said. School nurses are eligible for parental leave pay, too.

An extra incentive for retired Capital School District teachers: they will get paid $220 if they commit to covering parental leave.

Retired Capital teachers will more likely know the students or their parents and offer an easier transition for the kids, board president John C. Martin said.

A substitute shortage is not unique to Capital and has affected districts across the nation, Cooke said.

“I’m worried this will not bring in the substitutes we need. But, will it make it better? Absolutely,” Shelton said, estimating the impact of these changes.

In February, human resources will give a report of whether changes in pay helped the substitute shortage at Capital.