Guest teachers to receive pay raise

Board approves increase in daily, long-term rates

The district’s Board of Education approved a pay raise for Oak Park Unified’s guest teachers Jan. 9, bringing compensation to a daily rate of $120 and a long-term rate of $205. The guest teachers had previously been earning $115 as a daily rate and $135 as a long-term rate.

Most guest teachers who work in the Oak Park district also work for neighboring school districts. OPUSD must remain competitive with these districts to retain a regular pool of guest teachers.

“It has been more challenging to find and keep long-term guest teachers lately, and so we had to significantly raise the pay for those teachers,” Superintendent Tony Knight wrote in an email.

Tim Chevalier, a social studies teacher, said the regular teachers negotiated some pay raises over the last four years, so a guest teacher pay raise was to be expected.

“Keeping in line with inflation and cost of living, it’s inevitable that the guest teachers also have to see their compensation increase,” Chevalier said.

Knight said he hopes this pay raise will show the district’s appreciation for their hard work. He explained that in the district, substitute teachers are called guest teachers to show respect.

It has been more challenging to find and keep long-term guest teachers lately, and so we had to significantly raise the pay for those teachers,”

— Tony Knight

“I know that growing up, we called them ‘subs,’ and we knew that it was going to be kind of a free type of day,” Chevalier said. “But I feel that our guest teachers are generally respected, and I feel that is a reflection of our student body.”

Stan Smith, a guest teacher, has been working in the Oak Park Unified School District for four years. Previously, he worked in the Alhambra and Las Virgenes school districts.

“I come to the classroom, I follow the teacher’s lesson plan, I work with the students the best I can,” Smith said.

Smith said his favorite part of the job is working with the students.

“Hopefully, the students like me. I don’t know, some of them do, probably some of them don’t,” Smith said.

Ruty Levy, another guest teacher, left her previous career in graphic design to work as a full-time guest teacher.

“I love the school, I love the setting, I love the teachers, I love the camaraderie of the teachers, and the students are great,” Levy said.

The two guest teachers agreed, saying that the students are respectful and cause very few disciplinary issues.

“I think [the students] treat me with a lot of respect,” Smith said. “I fell last month and passed out, and the students were extremely helpful in getting help so that I could be taken care of.”

Samuel Pradhan, a junior, and sophomore Sarah Miller said they think the school’s guest teachers deserve this pay raise, considering the unpredictability of their job.

“They have to show up at random times and sometimes it doesn’t fit into their schedule,” Pradhan said.

Robin Midiri, a math teacher, said she agreed.

“They have kind of a challenging situation,” Midiri said. “They really have to kind of step into any situation.”