Hampstead/Timberlane Boosts Pay for Substitute Nurses

Superintendent Earl Metzler told the School Administrative Unit (SAU) 55 Board that an emergency exists in the area of nurse substitutes. SAU 55 covers the Hampstead and Timberlane districts; Timberlane encompasses Sandown, Plaistow, Atkinson and Danville.
Metzler told the board last week that there is no pool of substitute nurses for Hampstead and Timberlane, and with Hampstead Middle School needing a long-term substitute, it has become a matter of safety. HMS nurse Caroline Megan is out on a long-term medical leave.

Part of the problem, he said, is the pay scale for nurse substitutes, which he termed well below the majority of districts, and has reduced the pool of potential substitutes to none.
The present pay is $80 a day, compared to districts that pay from $68 to over $200 a day.
He proposed raising the substitute nurse daily pay to $175, saying this would allow Timberlane and Hampstead to immediately develop a pool of substitutes.
The pay would work out to about $25 an hour, which is less than what the full-time nurses receive.
The district has been using an agency to fill the slot at $53 or more per hour, which he termed prohibitive for the long term.
Jaye Dimando from the Hampstead board asked why the schools couldn’t use a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) rather than a registered nurse (RN), and no one knew the answer.
The SAU Board voted to approve the requested increase in nurse substitute pay to $175 from the present $80. Wilson said she hoped to be able to fill Hampstead’s position by the next day.
In other business, Metzler provided an update on Food Service improvements. He told the board last week that Whitsons, the food service vendor for both Timberland and Hampstead School Districts, has made improvements and he is working on a single policy to serve both districts, in place of the two that now exist.
He said one of the problem areas is the fee the districts have to pay each time a parent makes an online deposit or payment. That accounts for almost one-third of the debt associated with the food service, he said.
The administrators have visited all the districts’ kitchens in an effort to ensure they get what they need so that students are well fed and the kitchens run efficiently.
“The September financials are in and we appear to be at a break-even point,” he said. “I am optimistic looking ahead. We are working very hard to reach the break-even point and I plan to stay on this.”

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