Though school has yet to start, the troubles are already beginning for one Pennsylvania school district that is experiencing difficulties with staffing substitute teachers due to harsh regulations imposed by Obamacare.
Obamacare mandates that substitute teachers cannot work more than 30 hours per week at the same district without being offered healthcare benefits. The Central Cambria School District is now faced with a serious dilemma- how they will deal with a teacher’s absence when a regular teacher cannot work and when a substitute teacher is close to exceeding their 30 hour threshold.
Lisa Urbassik, a 7th grade Language Arts teacher at the school district is worried about how the Obamacare rule will affect students.
-"They’re (substitute teachers) going to have a limited number of days that they can work in each district. If you get a teacher that has to maybe be out sick for a whole week for some reason, then how are you going to have one sub in to cover that class, how are you going to have any sort of continuity for the students?" Urbassik told WTAJ-PA.
Her heart goes out to the children, "You have to feel bad for the districts and the kids because the districts are the ones that need the subs and the kids are the ones that are going to get hurt and that’s what we’re all here for."
"It’s just another piece of the puzzle that makes it tougher and tougher to finish the puzzle," Dr. Vincent Dileo, Superintendent of the Central Cambria School District said of the cumbersome Obamacare rule.
Joe Klezek, a long-term substitute teacher in the district, said that substitute teachers rely on substitute teaching to gain experience and eventually get hired on as permanent teachers. The Obamacare rule will end this learning experience for them, he said. He shared, "Pretty much all teachers had to pay their dues at some point."
The school employs a system called "AESOP" to ensure that substitute teachers do not exceed 30 hours a week. Substitute teachers have not been a problem for them in past years, they said.