Substitute teachers for D.C. Public Schools protested outside Mayor Muriel Bowser's office Monday even after she announced a pay raise for substitutes. Some of them say the raise still isn't enough.
Bowser announced the pay bump for substitute teachers at a news conference Monday about her proposed budget of more than $2 billion for the school system, which is a nearly 6% increase in funding per student.
"Up to $20 per hour for a regular daily substitute and $25 an hour for a longterm substitute who will teach for at least 30 consecutive days in our classrooms. So, we hear our substitutes, we hear their concerns and, frankly, I couldn’t agree more," Bowser said.
However, substitute teachers who protested insisted they need more than the proposed raise.
"We're so happy there's movement, but in order to get and keep these substitute teachers, we have to pay them more — especially considering the fact that we're in the middle of COVID," a spokesperson for the teacher's union told News4.
In January, Bowser announced a roughly $2 an hour increase for daily substitute teachers to bring their salary from $15.20 to $17 an hour.
“That’s not fair. I mean, it’s a slap in the face actually, and I’m wondering, why are they doing this to us?” Myrtle Washington, head of Washington Substitute Teachers United, said of the $2 raise.
Washington said that prior to that raise, substitutes haven’t gotten a raise since 2008, and thinks they should earn $300 a day.
Bowser also announced a new $36 million Recovery Fund that would go toward helping schools with rising costs and pandemic-related needs.
"We believe with this budget we are delivering to schools, district and charter, what they will need to continue their recovery," Superintendent Paul Khin said at the news conference.
While Bowser touted her budget as not inflicting any cuts to schools, one parent said the budget for his children’s school wasn't keeping up with the needs.
"We had 59 students additional so we were one schools that already saw the enrollment surge … but enough money for one teacher. That’s not good," he said.
"We’re not going to talk about specifics of each budget of all the 100-and-some schools, but the chancellor will," Bowser said.