Regardless of the difficulty in finding sufficient substitute teachers, schools have an obligation to call for substitute teachers when regular teachers are absent. Here’s what the BTU-BPS contract says:
“It is the policy of the Committee that substitutes shall be hired to cover classes of regularly-assigned teachers when they are absent.” Page 33, 8 (b).
So what can one do?
If you are a teacher in a building and lose your P & D because you covered a class when a substitute was not hired, you are entitled to coverage pay. The payment form comes out twice per year, and you are entitled to be paid at a rate of 1/5 of a per diem substitute teacher’s rate, which is currently $137.40 (or $27.48 per lost P & D), soon to be $141.52 ($28.30 per lost P & D).
What’s more, if you are in a school that makes no effort to find a substitute teacher for whatever reason, that’s a violation of the sentence above. Call the appropriate field representative. If you are told that you’re in an autonomous school and the school doesn’t have to call substitutes, ask to see the school’s election to work agreement for confirmation that the above sentence has been waived.