Pay for substitute teachers is a thing I have become a little informed about over the past couple of years. I am far from the expert on this topic…but know a little.

I also watch the HCPSS budget and know how difficult it is to increase money in any area. That being said…are we (Howard County) not doing the right things for substitute teachers (in terms of pay) in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS)?

Here is some information that was recently sent to me about substitute pay in surrounding areas and HCPSS:

Montgomery County: $128.87 / 7-hour day for a non-certifed, degreed daily sub  (confirmed with phone call to their temp services office)

Carroll County: $113.06


Anne Arundel: $110
Baltimore County: $107.52
Frederick County: $100
HCPSS: $95

I honestly have a hard time fighting for this issue with this budget season…but it is not something that should be forgotten in our school system.

Didn’t the HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Martirano say in front of the Council last year that cumulatively, a typical HCPSS student spends one-year of his/her twelve-year public school tenure in a classroom led by a sub? If that is true should we not pay those teachers as well as other surrounding jurisdictions do?

David Ryan has been an advocate for this issue in front of the HoCoBOE for a while now:

What are your thought on this topic? Let me know in the comments.

Scott E


  1. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I’ve met more than a few Uber drivers who said they make more money driving than substitute teaching. Just my opinion, but that seems to be a poor use of societal resources.

    The difference between Howard County and other surrounding counties is indeed pretty stark, and it would be good to close the gap somewhat this year, even if it is a difficult budget year.

  2. I am grateful to My Ryan for bringing this issue up at this weeks candidate meet and greet in addition to his repeated advocacy before the board.

    If Howard County wants to maximize the educational efficacy of the system then that requires drawing in and retaining the most qualified pool of substitutes. As such the compensation needs to be competitive with neighboring districts.

  3. Scott, thanks for the data on this important issue.

    I have plenty of anecdotal stories about the impact of “sub-par sub-pay” in our County. I didn’t realize until you posted the hard data on substitute teachers pay just how far out of step we are with surrounding jurisdictions. We need to maintain an appropriately sized pool of qualified substitutes to provide the continuity in instruction for our students. (And, they deserve this continuity even when their regular teacher is absent.)

    I agree, in these fiscally tight times, it seems like a hard thing to find the monies needed to bring our substitute teacher pay more in line with others around us. But, I fear if we don’t, we could run the risk of depleting our pool of qualified substitutes by their attrition to higher-paying districts, which could impact the quality of education we want to provide our Howard County students. I know times are tight, but in the end, “you get what you pay for.”

    As always, thanks for your good stewardship to our community and blogging about these important issues. We need to talk about hard things, too!

  4. To me this is an issue with a few things at play. I was a sub in a neighboring county way back in the early 2000’s and my pay was not much less than what Howard County pays its subs today. Also seeing the how much the rate in the county I taught in has increased since then leads me to question how long pay has been lower in Howard than neighboring counties. Is the low rate of pay a chronic issue? Are there other compounding issues of educator schedule or calendar schedule that is leading to Howard County having the need for a lot of subs per day? How are these comparable to other counties? If we were needing less subs per day, would we be able to offer a more competitive rate? We need subs to be available to cover when needed and we need a strong pool of subs to support our educators and students.

  5. Eyeopening read. As a retired HCPSS teacher, I would most definitely drive over the county line for an extra $150 a week, should I choose to be a substitute.

  6. I have a former elementary school teacher working as an assistant in my law firm right now. By all accounts, she was a wonderful teacher who stepped away from the profession to raise her youngest. She won’t take sub jobs in HoCo because of the low pay. She taught for over a decade in HCPSS elementary schools. What a shame that we lose these resources because of sub-standard pay.

  7. Respecting the viewpoint that we are in fiscally tight times here in HoCo, this is asinine. One of the central responsibilities of the school is to educate our children. They do this by teaching … which by Dr. Martirano’s own admission, involves quite a bit of time with a sub. Balancing a budget is not easy and it requires tradeoffs, but shortchanging our subs and cutting special education shouldn’t be one of them. There is no gray area here.

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