Should full-time substitute teachers in Nevada get health insurance paid for? CCSD says no

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 11:47 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Should full-time substitute teachers in Nevada get health insurance paid for? That question was up for debate Monday in Carson City. The Clark County School District’s answer: no.

“We constantly talk about a teacher pipeline shortage,” stated Athar Haseebullah, Executive Director of the ACLU of Nevada. While there is a national teacher shortage, (according to the ACLU of Nevada there are about 1,400 teacher vacancies in Clark County schools alone), with so many classroom positions vacant there is also a huge need for substitutes. Abbey Nyberg subbed full-time from March 2021 through May of 2022.

“If you are a long-term sub, you are doing the work of a long-term teacher, and you are likely only getting paid about $100 a day, sometimes less. If you don’t have another job, you are not making a livable wage,” Nyberg recounted. While full-time substitute teachers have the same responsibilities as a licensed teacher, they make a far less and most are not offered benefits.

“For every substitute educator that falls within this parameter that is filling that seat within a classroom, a school district is saving upwards of 35 to 40,000 dollars,” Haseebullah argued. That’s why the ACLU of Nevada says they deserve health care coverage subsides from the district they work for and have stepped up to be their voice.

“Substitute teachers don’t have a bargaining unit,” Haseebullah explained.

The ACLU wants subs who have worked for more than 30 consecutive school days to be offered a $450 a month subsidy to pay for health insurance. They said currently that would cover 775 subs in Clark County and more than 130 in Washoe County.

“Any funding that is used for this would reduce funding for raises for teachers, support staff, and administrators,” asserted Patricia Haddad, Director of Government Relations for CCSD. CCSD says they do offer full-time subs health coverage after a year but are against the bill to offer coverage after 30 days. Washoe County also expressed opposition saying it would be difficult to track which subs qualify.

“We would need to hand track that, which would just be additional staff time,” testified Tess Opperman with the Washoe County School District.

As subs don’t make much money, many rely on Medicaid for health insurance which is paid for by the state. During Monday’s hearing, State Senator Fabian Donyate said he keeps track of which employers have the most employees on Medicaid and CCSD is one of them.

The ACLU of Nevada says other states do offer health coverage to their full-time substitute teachers.