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Former emergency sub shares experience applying to Clark County School District

Enlisting the help of emergency subs throughout the district.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 2:02 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Since this article’s publishing, a spokesperson with the Nevada Department of Education reached out to FOX5, claiming the featured applicant’s background check process was shorter than the applicant had stated.

According to Allegra Demerjian, Public Information Officer for the Nevada Department of Education, Chung’s account was opened and his application was submitted October 19. Less than one month later, on November 12, she said his background check was complete and that the candidate received an email confirming his license.

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ORIGINAL STORY (May. 4, 2022 at 2:02 PM PDT): The Clark County School District is now calling its labor shortage “critical.” Recent efforts to get more adults on campuses include bringing retired teachers back, providing incentive pay for subs and allowing “emergency substitutes,” anyone with a high school diploma, to apply.

Officials said emergency subs’ only academic requirement is a high school diploma. So what’s the background check process like for emergency subs, and when could we start seeing impacts?

FOX5 spoke with a man who said he was an emergency sub with the district. He said the vetting and application process is a lot more complex and lengthy than it might initially seem.

“It was a pretty long process,” said Las Vegas local Claysin Chung.

The regulation was recently brought back and made permanent Feb. 28, after it was piloted last year. That’s when Chung applied. He is among the roughly 530 emergency subs estimated by the state to have been hired by CCSD in the last few years.

“We do a background check with the Department of Education,” said Chung.

The state certification part of the application process, he said, took him the longest: about three and a half months, and a $180 fee.

“I applied back in September, didn’t really get approved until late December, early January,” said Chung. “It took them that whole timeframe for just getting me my background check from the FBI.”

He added, “Once you get that certification, you apply, and it’s not guaranteed you’re approved until you do an interview.”

Once at the district level, he said he was then required to do a separate background check by CCSD.

“That was more of a quicker background check, that lasted like a week, and after that we were able to get our IDs, and we get our I-9 with the district,” said Chung.

He said his starting pay was $120 dollars per day.

A spokesperson of the Nevada Department of Education confirmed that CCSD can currently accept emergency subs and that they are required to do a background check and fingerprinting.

So are principals seeing big impacts of this regulation change yet?

On April 6, FOX5 spoke with Sarah Popek, principal of Title-I school Myrtle Tate Elementary.

“I was in support of, ya know, one more avenue for getting qualified substitutes into our classrooms,” said Popek. “We have had a very low fill-rate this year.”

She added, “We have not seen any impacts at Myrtle Tate elementary school, however knowing the process that it takes to become a licensed substitute teacher, I think it will be a few more months before we start seeing more positions being filled, perhaps even going into next year.”

Meantime, she is hopeful qualified candidates apply so that schools like hers can start benefiting more from the rule change allowing emergency subs.

“I am hopeful about a lot of things for next school year, and having guest teachers in our classrooms each and every day without a problem would definitely be one of those,” said Popek.

FOX5 reached out to the district communications office for more details on this vetting and background check process, but as of this story publishing date, we have yet to hear back. To learn how to obtain a license as an emergency substitute, click here.