As metro Atlanta school systems face staffing shortages, Cherokee County School District is hoping to attract new substitute teachers with higher pay rates.

Starting Tuesday, Superintendent Brian Hightower has approved raises from $120 to $150 a day for substitute teachers, school district spokesperson Barbara Jacoby told the Tribune. Pay was also raised from $160 to $185 a day for long-term substitute teachers, who cover for specific educators on medical leave. Before last school year, regular substitutes were making $90 a day.

Jacoby said the superintendent issued the raises to “keep up with increased rates in neighboring counties.”

Cobb County School District last week issued temporary raises to substitute teachers, supply teachers, and substitute and supply nurses through May 2022. The daily pay for substitute teachers will increase to $189 and the daily pay for supply teachers will increase to $212, starting in Oct. 29 paychecks.

After a recent hiring event, Cherokee Schools added 80 new substitute teachers to a pool of 600; district officials say they are continuously reviewing applications and training for new substitutes.

Aug. 23, the school district began sending certified central office staff to cover classrooms to address teacher shortages driven in large part by COVID-19 infections and related absences. Chief of Staff Mike McGowan reported last month that about 100 school district employees are out at a time with COVID-19; others are out to stay home with children sick with the virus, or for non-COVID related reasons.

CCSD central office employees are also covering school cafeterias, and those who are certified to drive school buses are covering bus routes.

The school district is hosting a workshop for potential substitute teachers Sept. 14. Those interested in working for CCSD can visit

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Shannon Ballew is the managing editor at the Cherokee Tribune and the Cherokee Ledger-News. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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