- Associated Press - Saturday, January 14, 2017

CHATHAM, Ill. (AP) - Faced with a shortage of substitute teachers, school districts in Illinois are increasing their recruitment efforts and getting a boost from a new law that’s set to take effect next year.

The law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner earlier this month reduces fees for interested applicants by $50 and removes the requirement of passing a test of basic skills, the State Journal-Register (https://bit.ly/2jNngUa) reported.

Jeff Vose, regional school superintendent for Sangamon and Menard counties, said a cost increase implemented five years ago to become a substitute and a criminal background check requirement, are some of the various reasons for the shortage.

About 20 people interested in substitute teaching attended a, “Coffee and Conversation,” meeting held by the Ball-Chatham School District on Jan. 11.

Chatham Elementary School Principal Kim Sepich said finding substitutes has been a daily challenge this school year. She said she organized the event to educate potential substitutes about the qualifications of the job and relieve anxieties they might have.

“If we can get people inside the door, the rest will figure itself out,” she said.

On average Chatham Elementary School needs three to six substitutes for various reasons such as teachers being ill, needing to stay home for a sick child and job training. Chatham Elementary School substitute teachers earn $90 daily.

In Illinois, substitute teachers are only required to have a four-degree, a substitute license and pass background check.

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Information from: The State Journal-Register, https://www.sj-r.com

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