Teaching assistants in the Niskayuna schools have become such an integral part of keeping classes going that the school board voted to extend a payment agreement with the association representing them early Tuesday morning.
School Board President Kim Tully said this move is to help alleviate the shortage of substitute teachers. The agreement was extended until June 30.
The lack of substitute teachers has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, according to Leon.
“In the past, the need for a teaching assistant to cover a class was more occasional and did not involve any additional compensation,” he said. “This agreement is based on the fact that it has been happening more frequently during this period of time and the compensation recognizes the additional duties.”
The memorandum of understanding with the Niskayuna Education Support Personnel Association will pay teaching assistants who cover classes $25 per a period of time covered based on the school’s scheduling. According to the agreement, elementary assistants will be paid $25 for subbing a quarter of the day for a maximum of $100. At the middle schools, they will receive $25 per period — as days are broken up into eight, 42-minute periods. At the high school, students’ schedules are arranged into five blocks broken into two 36-minute sections known as “mods.” An assistant will be compensated $25 per mod, the agreement says.
When an assistant doesn’t volunteer to cover the open class, one will be assigned by the school principal, according to the agreement.