Nevada bill would give substitute teachers healthcare subsidies

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 10:38 AM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A proposal gaining traction in the Nevada legislature would aim to lure more people to work in classrooms by offering subsidies for healthcare for “full-time” substitute teachers.

According to the ACLU of Nevada, there are 1,367 teacher vacancies in Clark County schools. More than 3,000 people work as substitute teachers at CCSD, and more than 600 people are classified as “long-term” substitutes. Long-term substitute teachers are eligible for benefits after a year of employment with CCSD.

Assembly Bill 282, otherwise known as the Health Insurance for Long-term Substitutes Act, would create the term “full-time substitute,” and classify it as someone who has worked “30 or more consecutive days” at the district. The bill would mandate up to $450 for a subsidy per employee with proof of healthcare coverage.

According to lawmakers, the cost to CCSD would be $17 million dollars; proponents argue that those funds would be used anyway to pay for employed teachers.

The proposal has passed the Assembly and is in a Senate education committee.

Substitute teacher Brandon Summers tells FOX5, the status quo is not enough to encourage people to work in the classroom-- or lure retired teachers back. Other proponents of AB 282 said that other jobs outside of education provide similar healthcare benefits after 30 days.

“For the amount of work that we’re doing -- the same amount of work as a teacher-- we weren’t getting paid adequately,” he said, noting there’s always a looming concern among subs about how they will deal with personal medical care. “There’s actually a lot of substitute teachers who are retired teachers who’ve left the profession. Now this is something that might encourage retired teachers to go back to the profession [in a] long-term capacity to help them supplement their income, especially since they’ve probably lost access to health insurance and employer-sponsored health insurance,” Summers said.

CCSD voiced opposition for numerous reasons at a committee hearing, including a huge workload with “administrative challenges” to process eligibility. A spokesperson also said that individual schools, not the district, would be forced to pay for the healthcare subsidies. The district would also rather focus on helping more people become full-time teachers, said spokesperson Patricia Haddad.

The Nevada Association of School Superintendents also voiced opposition to an “unfunded mandate.”