BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — Friday’s payday was light for some of Bentonville Schools’ staff. Substitute teachers at Bentonville School District are being paid 20% less this school year, some were unaware of this change.

One Bentonville substitute teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, said they were shocked when they checked their bank account Friday morning to see it was not as high as their pay last year.

They said they were paid $126 per day last school year, and now they are getting paid $100 per day.

For context, with the previous rate, substitute teachers made about $22,000 a year before taxes if they worked every day of the school year. At $100 per day, subs stand to make about $4,000 less per year, at $18,000.

Bentonville School District Spokesperson, Leslee Wright, said the district increased pay for substitute teachers just for the 2021-22 school year as an incentive due to the pandemic. She said the money came from the Bentonville Schools’ operations budget. 

The substitute teacher KNWA/FOX24 talked to felt not enough notice was given to them about the end of the pandemic pay. Wright said it was all posted in October of last year, with an end date for the increased pay, on the school district’s website.

“They’re critically important to the fabric and the continuity of operations every single day,” said Trent Jones with Springdale Public Schools about the importance of substitute teachers.

Daily, substitute teachers are needed across the district.

“On average every day, we need somewhere around 260 subs or so, and we mostly fill those spots, but it ebbs and flows,” he said. “It’s always a challenge though. Everybody’s going through the challenge of finding people and finding good people.”

As Northwest Arkansas continues to grow, Jones hopes school districts will be equipped with enough substitute teachers.

“What we need to do is just help them understand, come and be a part of our family,” Jones said.

Census data shows that Northwest Arkansas shows the region has a net gain of 30 people per day, according to the Northwest Arkansas Council.

Jones said you can be as young as 18 years old to start substitute teaching in Springdale elementary schools. Click here to learn more.

Bentonville Schools didn’t have any further comment on its substitute teacher situation. The district contracts its substitutes through a third-party company. Click here to learn more.

You can also learn more about Bentonville School’s salary for other positions.

Click here to learn more about becoming a certified substitute teacher in Arkansas.