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Latest Rogers School District News
Nov 16, 2022
by Dave Perozek |Today at 5:00 a.m. The Rogers School Board listens to a speaker Tuesday during its meeting. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Dave Perozek) ROGERS -- The School District will implement new strategies for recruiting and retaining bus drivers and substitute teachers in hopes of overcoming shortages in both areas. The School Board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to those plans, which include both financial incentives as well as other measures aimed at raising job satisfaction. For substitute teachers, pay rates are going up between $15 and $30 per day, depending on the substitute's level of education. Pay for a substitute with a college degree, for example, will increase from $92 to $115 per day. Rogers currently spends about $2 million per year on substitute teachers; the pay increase, which goes into effect today, will increase those costs by between $250,000 and $300,000 over the course of a year, according to Superintendent Jeff Perry. In addition, the district intends to simplify the process of searching for and accepting a substitute position, provide substitutes optional training to help strengthen their behavior management skills and "create a better working environment for subs to ensure they feel part of the school family," according to a district document. The plan also aims at reducing the time regular teachers miss work. An example would be paying staff members to remain after school for staff development, rather than have them attend that training during the school day, the document states. Using virtual staff development or prerecorded sessions teachers can view at home or during their planning time -- along with some type of extra compensation -- may also prevent them from having to leave the classroom, according to the document. The district also will pay certified staff members $130 for each unused personal day at the end of each school year. Teachers are allowed five personal days per school year. School districts nationwide have struggled to find enough substitute teachers, especially since the covid-19 pandemic began. Perry said Rogers' success rate of finding substitutes for absent teachers this fall has been somewhere around 85%, whereas in prepandemic times, the rate was typically in the mid-90s or better. Similarly, districts have had a hard time finding and retaining bus drivers. Rogers has been using mechanics and other personnel to fill in vacant driver positions. The district plans to pay a $500 bonus to each driver who maintains at least a 95% attendance rate during the school year; a $500 bonus to drivers for each person they convince to come drive for the district; and a $1,000 bonus for each new driver who signs up and drives a route for the rest of the year, provided they maintain a 95% attendance rate. But Rogers' plan also addresses issues of student behavior and disrespect, which drivers indicated were two major reasons they were leaving the profession, Perry said. Among other steps, the district will increase consequences for students who are disrespectful to a driver or otherwise misbehave on the bus, and repeat offenders will lose the privilege of riding the bus, according to a district document. The district also promises to provide feedback to drivers on discipline matters. Drivers were frustrated when they turned in discipline referrals and were not notified of the resolution, the document states. The district also will provide additional opportunities for drivers to work in the schools between their morning and afternoon routes if they wish. "We need a number of part-time support personnel and this may be a win-win situation," the document states. "Drivers must possess the necessary skill sets for each specific job but we will provide preferences to our drivers." In other business, the board on Tuesday unanimously agreed not to seek bids at this time for construction of the district's 17th elementary school, thereby postponing indefinitely a project the district has had in the works for over a year. Perry and the board discussed the matter at length during a work session two weeks ago. Enrollment growth has slowed and six other elementary schools still have enough space combined to accommodate 240 additional students, Perry said. The district up to now had been preparing to build the 17th elementary at North Second Street and Stratton Road and open it in time for the 2024-25 school year. The latest cost estimate for the project is $36 million, Perry said. Such an expense would severely limit the district's ability to accomplish other needed capital projects, such as a renovation of Oakdale Middle School, Perry said. Print Headline: Rogers looks to attract more subs, drivers ADVERTISEMENT
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Rogers School District Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was Rogers School District founded?
Rogers School District was founded in 1995.
Where is Rogers School District's headquarters?
Rogers School District's headquarters is located at 500 W. Walnut St., Rogers.
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