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School Board Votes To Privatize Substitute Teachers, Will Start Next School Year

Move could save more than $400,000 in the first year

Kevin Bush

Source4Teachers’ president, Kevin Bush, talks about the benefits his company will offer the school district’s substitute teachers staring next school year.

The school district’s roughly 150 substitute teachers will be working for a Cherry Hill-based company starting next year, for a little more money and better benefits.

The Board of Education at its April 24 meeting voted unanimously to privatize the substitute teachers, awarding a $1.4 million contract to Source4Teachers.

And unlike the move to substitute the district’s para-professionals – which was eventually abandoned by the board – the privatization of substitute teachers did not elicit a groundswell of opposition. In fact, no one from the public was at the April 24 meeting to speak on the topic.

That’s probably because members of the district administration, principals of Source4Teachers and about 40 of the district’s substitute teachers met earlier this month to discuss the changes. Brian Bonanno, the district’s administrative services manager, said the meeting went well.

Starting next school year, non-certificated substitute teachers will earn $95 a day, while certificated substitutes will earn $100 a day, said Source4Teachers’ KC Schiller, the vice president of business development. Schiller said there will be no limits on how many days the teachers can work.

“We want them to work every day,” he said.

Every substitute teacher now employed by the district is guaranteed a job with the district through Source4Teachers, Schiller said.

The teachers will be given “minimum” health benefits and a 401(k) to make up for the loss of a state pension, he said.

The substitutes will also be able to apply for unemployment benefits in the summer, so long as their earnings qualify, said Source4Teachers’ president, Kevin Bush.

“There are a lot of great opportunities on the fringe benefits side,” he said. “We want to make this a great place to work.”

He said the company will also use the same technology as the district, plus some additional technology to track working hours and attendance.

Schiller said the company is comprised of former teachers, administrators and district superintendents.

“This is what we focus on, this is who we are, this is what we know,” he said.

Interim schools Superintendent Lee Seitz said that he’d called another district’s business administrator for a reference for the company.

“This business administrator couldn’t say enough good things” about the company, Seitz said. “I think it’s a winning situation for the substitutes, and I think it’s a winning situation for our district.”

Bonanno said after the meeting that the district expects to save more than $400,000 in the first year. He said most of that savings will come from long-term substitutes, who take over for teachers on extended leaves.

Outsourcing the substitute teachers was seen by the district administration as the only way to avoid drastic staff cuts. The district was cared with a $2.3 million budget shortfall.

Some staff reductions will still be necessary, even with the outsourcing. The school board has yet to decide on that issue.

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