Paraprofessional substitutes receive 12% pay increase

At the recommendation of Human Resources and General Administration Director Susan Paley, the Board of Education unanimously approved to increase the pay rate of paraprofessional substitutes by 11.76% during its Feb. 5 meeting.

The human resources department has been working on the district’s substitute coverage, said Ms. Paley, and the lack of available paraprofessional substitutes has been “a significant concern” of principals and classroom teachers.

According to Ms. Paley, the Wilton school district normally needs between three to eight special education paraprofessionals a day. The people who fill these roles work with special education students in small groups or individually.

There is currently a $10 differential between paraprofessional and regular substitute teacher earnings, said Ms. Paley — paraprofessional substitutes get paid $85 a day, while substitute teachers get paid $95 a day.

Paraprofessional substitute pay rates in competing districts are close or equal to those of regular substitutes, and because of this, she said, people have been refusing to take paraprofessional substitutes jobs in Wilton.

With the board’s approval, paraprofessional substitutes in Wilton will now earn $95 — the same pay rate as substitute teachers — instead of $85.

Education board member Glen Hemmerle said he is “totally in support” of the pay increase because “a paraprofessional’s job is significantly [more] difficult than a regular substitute’s job.”

“My position is we should pay paras more than the regular substitutes,” he said, “so if we can get this first step, that’s great.”

Impact

By increasing special education paraprofessional substitutes’ pay rates and increasing the number of district-qualified substitutes, Ms. Paley said, “we should be able to increase the number of covered para-positions by at least three to four positions daily.”

Ms. Paley said not only will the salary increase result in “a minimal increased cost to the district” — estimated at $40 a day or about $5,000 a year, but it will also “ensure that we can better meet our obligations to special education children.”