Stephens Co. BOE Hears From Substitute Management Company

The Stephens County Board of Education hears a presentation from a company that is proposing to take over the handling and management of the school system’s substitute teachers.

At its meeting last week, the Board of Education received a presentation from Kelly Services.

They are a company that some school systems already use and that the Stephens County School System and others are looking at.

Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten said the Affordable Care Act is a main reason that school systems are looking at services such as this.

“One of the reasons that we are looking at this is some of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, making sure subs do not go over a certain amount of time and making sure we do not get penalties and incur additional costs that are associated with that,” said Whiten.

Whiten said that under the Affordable Care Act, if the school system did not offer health insurance to a sub working more than 30 hours a week, it would have to pay a penalty.

School officials also noted that Kelly Services can provide health and other benefits to the substitutes under its umbrella.

Kelly Services District Manager Courtney Hortman said that her organization handles all aspects of the process, from recruiting substitutes all the way through getting into touch with substitutes to place them in the classroom as needed.

“We do all of the screening,” said Hortman.  “We do background checks, fingerprinting, reference checks, face-to-face interviews.  We do all of the hiring.”

She said Kelly handles the training, scheduling, and reporting also.

Hortman said the principals still have complete control over who is in their classroom and can work with Kelly to let them know subs they prefer to have and subs they do not want in a particular classroom for whatever reason.

Principals in attendance last week said they see positives, but want to make sure they have control over the subs and who is in their classrooms.

Hortman also said that Kelly works with the administration and the Board of Education to set everything up in a way that works for the school system.

Regarding payment, Hortman said that the school system then pays Kelly Services, who pays the subs.

She said Kelly Services does then charge a markup of 40 to 42 percent.  However, she said that might be lower if numerous school systems in the area all come on board and negotiate a lower rate.

School system administration estimated that if all 400 teachers averaged three absences a year, that markup would be a total of about $48,000 a year and said it would be cost-effective as opposed to the alternative of hiring someone or offering health insurance through the school system to substitutes.

However, Board of Education Member Tony Crunkleton said the school system already tracks substitutes itself.

“You talk about hiring somebody to do that, we do that now,” said Crunkleton.  “We already keep track of that.”

But school system administration said that currently, it spends a lot of time on it to barely get by, time that could and sometimes needs to be spent elsewhere.

The Board of Education did not make a final decision and will discuss the matter further.

Whiten said that if the Board of Education decides to go this route, the school system would likely implement it following this school year.