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RRMR School District cancels classes due to staff shortages

RRMR after school

From left, Tanner Gonnerman, Madison Gonnerman and Preston Starr are participants in RRMR's after-school program. 

Staff shortages have led Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock (RRMR) Community School District to cancel classes Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 22 and Nov. 23.

The district announced the closures in a Facebook post on Monday night. The two canceled days will be made up at the end of the school year.

According to RRMR Secondary Principal Nick Johnson, the district is used to having five regular substitutes for the high school and one for the elementary to call upon when needed. But Johnson said that, right now, the district is working through unique circumstances, having five high school teachers out at once. That's left the district in a bit of a predicament. 

"We just had subs that couldn't cover," said Johnson.

The ongoing substitute-teacher shortages many districts have been struggling with have hit RRMR, too.

According to Johnson and Superintendent Todd Lichty, fellow faculty members have already been rearranging their schedules, some giving up prep periods, to help fill in for their colleagues' absences, but this is the first instance that RRMR has been unable to cover all of the classrooms.

After explaining the situation to the school board, it was decided the district would just cancel two days of school.

Some of the substitute teachers who cover RRMR also sub in other school districts, and generally choose jobs that not only best fit into their schedules, but also offer the best compensation. "[Subs] have a pretty good say and, ironically, (because many absences aren't planned) it is how early you get your sub notice out," said Johnson.

The RRMR school board approved a new pay rate of $140 per day for substitute teachers, which went into effect on Nov. 1, but Lichty says the district needed to do a better job getting the word out about the wage increase.

Johnson and Lichty say that while the district has done a good job in making sure classrooms are covered, it's not been easy. Johnson said people who are qualified are invited to be a sub for RRMR.

"It is trying times," said Johnson.

Abby covers education and public safety for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at Abby.Koch@GlobeGazette.com

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