By CBSLA Staff

TOLUCA LAKE (CBSLA) –  A shortage of teachers has been a serious issue for schools across the southland and now many schools are also coping with a shortage of people willing to be substitute teachers.

Aslyn Schindler is a fifth grader at Toluca Lake Elementary. She said she’s had about three substitute teachers this year so far and at least two days whether there was no substitute at all.

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(credit: CBS)

On the days without a substitute, Schindler and her classmates were moved into a different classroom.

“It was kind of like a play day,” the fifth grader said when asked if they worked on lesson plans or were simply allowed to play.

Officials told CBSLA there were about 16,000 openings for credentialed positions across the state, after many educators left the profession last year. To retain and attract substitutes, the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools offered two pay bumps in recent months.

Incentives have also been offered in LA County, but in the executive director of the Torrance Teachers Association said the increases haven’t closed the gaps.

“There’s a limited pool of substitute teachers on that regular basis. Even pre-pandemic, there were times when we would struggle to cover all assignments,” said Mario DeLeva, with the Torrance Teachers Association.

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CalMatter reports that in the 2020-2021 school year, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing issued close to 47,000 substitute teacher permits, but in 2018-2019, there were 64,000.

Teachers have said that the pandemic has led to reluctance.

David Perron, who has three children in the Los Angeles Unified School District, said his kids have not been shortchanged.

“There’s been nothing. We’ve had no effects at all for our family,” Perron said.

A spokesperson for LAUSD said there is a large pool of substitute teachers and when one is not available, resources are then reallocated.

The district has also hosted hiring fairs and offered stipends to new hires who commit to working at campuses with the highest need.

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