Warren schools to outsource substitutes

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County Public Schools will work with a staffing company to place substitute teachers starting in 2016.

School Board members unanimously approved a contract with Source4Teachers at its Dec. 10 meeting. The company employs and places substitute teachers in client school districts for a percent markup over the teachers’ pay rates. Around 150 substitutes that the school currently employs will become Source4Teachers employees starting on March 7.

At the Nov. 24 work session, board members had listened to a presentation by the schools’ Director of Personnel, George Smith Jr. and Paula Vercammen, director of business development at Source4Teachers. There, Vercammen said the company currently works in more than 200 districts in several different states.

According to the action agenda item, the division’s monthly payment to Source4Teachers will be covered in the substitute teaching labor budget. The company will receive a 35 percent markup over the substitutes’ daily pay. For instance, a teacher with three years of advanced education working a full day will be paid $65, but the division will be billed $87.75.

Substitute teachers in different set classifications by role, experience and service periods will be paid a $5 daily increase from previous rates starting in March, something that Smith said hasn’t happened for years.

“We have not been able, budget wise, for some time now to be able to give an increase, so by doing this program … it is a step in the right direction,” he said.

Still, Vercammen and Smith said at the work session that outsourcing to Source4Teachers would save the schools money. Because the company would handle all of the substituting operations itself, the position of Substitute Coordinator would be eliminated. The company would provide benefits like retirement plans and the Minimal Essential Coverage medical plan for substitutes, as well as the chance to earn unemployment compensation during the summer.

Source4Teachers would also introduce new software like VeriTime and AppliTrack to streamline the substitution process. Smith emphasized the efficiency that would come out of the switch.

“What we do now is done manually … I think it’s a more modernized way to run our substitute program,” Smith said.

Along with the employee benefits, Vercammen and Smith both said substitutes in the program would be well-equipped with experience and familiarity to enter full-time positions within the school. Vercammen said the business handles its own recruitment and allows the district the final word on deciding which substitutes fit well.

“We still pretty much have say of how we want the program run – they’re going to be the ones that are actually running the program,” Smith said.

Smith said he had contacted other districts that work with Source4Teachers and heard a “tremendous” response. He said the company will be holding an informational meeting this week where school staff will learn about the transition and move forward in 2016.

“A lot of this we’re going to leave to their guidance since they’ve done this so many times,” he said.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com