The Campbell City Schools Board of Education met Tuesday night to discuss a variety of topics including lowering the qualifications for substitute teachers to address an ongoing shortage.

A Resolution was passed to lessen the requirements to become a sub in the district by requiring an Associate degree vs. a 4-year degree. 

Campbell Superintendent, Matt Bowen tells 21 News there are multiple factors contributing to this shortage including retirement threshold increases, as well as stagnant wages.

"Campbell is willing to accept an Associates degree necessary for someone to come in and teach here in our district," Bowen told 21 News. "That's something any school could participate in, simply because there aren't enough individuals to sub in this market with a 4-year college degree."

Bowen says originally, teachers were eligible to retire after 30 years of service. Once they did, most retired teachers would return to the classroom to substitute teach for another few years.

In recent years though, this threshold was increased to 35 years, and Bowen says ever since this change, less retired teachers were coming back to the classroom to sub.

"People are staying in the profession until they are Medicare eligible," Bowen explained. "So for this reason, we no longer have the veteran sub-pool that we had once before."

Additionally, Bowen says there is a shortage of younger people choosing to go into the education field, citing the cost of tuition compared to a teacher's starting salary as a contributing factor to this.

Bowen tells 21 News most teachers make less than $40,000 per year starting out.

"Obviously, teachers could always negotiate higher salaries, but we're also dependent on the state foundation and how we're funded in the state," Bowen said. "There's only so much money that can go around."

These factors are why an emergency measure was enacted by the 134th General Assembly in October of 2021 to allow for the board to establish its own education requirements for substitute teachers. This measure was extended for the 2023-24 school year.

Bowen says this measure is necessary to save what he deems to be a "necessary and important" career field.

"[Teaching] is one of the most necessary and important careers that anyone could choose to go into. When you choose to become a teacher, you have the power to change lives," Bowen said. "You can truly make a difference to young people."

Bowen believes requirements could lessen even more in years to come.