In Regional School Unit 71, substitute teachers will now be paid $90 a day. The flat fee had been $75 since 2008, according to Superintendent Mary Alice McLean, who called the increase "long overdue."

Substitute ed techs, support staff, administrative assistants, bus drivers, custodians and food service workers will be making 10 percent to 20 percent more this school year. Substitute nurses will get $140 a day, an 87-percent increase.

McLean noted that this rate applies only to registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, who deal with serious student health problems and are required to pay their own liability insurance.

"The new pay doesn't apply to a sub who may simply be on hand in the nurse's office to help clean boo-boos from recess on the playground and put on Band-Aids, for example," she wrote in an email to The Republican Journal.

McLean said the new rates are a bid to attract more substitutes, who have been increasingly hard to find.

"Our pool (of substitutes) was miniscule," she said. "Very often there were days when we couldn't find enough people."

Along with a raise, a new online scheduling program called Frontline Education will now be implemented at RSU 71 to "attract, engage, grow and retain top talent," according to the company website.

The new online system allows subs to see and choose available jobs, block out days/dates when unavailable and set times when to receive calls about jobs, all in an effort to streamline the process.

Substitute teachers in Regional School Unit 20 will also see an increase in their paychecks this year. The new rate is $95 a day, up from $75, and $100 a day for long-term substitutions over 31 days, up from $85, according to Marilyn Stumpff, administrative assistant to the superintendent for RSU 20.

The last time it was raised was "several years" ago, she said.

Pay rates for substitute ed techs, custodians, kitchen workers, bus drivers and secretaries and administrative assistants have also increased.

RSU 20 did not institute an online scheduling program and relies on "sub callers" — someone delegated to calling subs when needed.

Judy Harvey, superintendent of the Northport School Department, said they would not be increasing substitute teacher pay this year at Edna Drinkwater Elementary School. At present, Drinkwater subs make $70 per day without a degree and $85 with a degree.

In Regional School Unit 3, Superintendent Paul Austin conceded in an email there is a lack of subs and that pay will increase to $90 a day and $120 a day for long-term subs for periods greater than 10 days. He was uncertain as to how long the pay rate for substitute teachers in RSU 3 had been set at $70.

"They are difficult to come by," Austin said.