School board will discuss contract to manage substitute teacher placement

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 26, 2020

By Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY – The Rowan-Salisbury School Board on Monday will discuss a contract with Michigan-based Kelly Education to take over management of its substitute teacher program.

The district currently runs its own substitute teacher placement program, and Kelly specializes in substitute management. It can follow local and state hiring practices, according to Monday’s agenda documents.

Kelly’s services include no hour cap for substitutes, incident management, support and free continuing education for employees as well as professional development for substitutes.

According to the presentation, which will be given by RSS Human Resources Chief Kristi Rhone, the district currently has a 75% teacher fill rate. That means the remaining 25% of classes are not filled by a substitute. Presently, regular subs for the district can only work 29.5 hours a week, and the district uses about 100 substitutes a day.

The presentations to be given at Monday’s meeting, which will be held virtually, include estimates if the district were to reach an 85% fill rate in house compared to contracting with Kelly. The estimated cost with Kelly is just under $2.1 million. It is $7,388 less than if the district were to manage its sub program in house.

Current substitutes will be grandfathered in as Kelly employees and be eligible for benefits.

The proposal is listed as a discussion item rather than an item for the board to vote on at the meeting.

The district will also look at approving the latest pair of renewal plans. Faith Elementary School and Carson High School will both present their plans at the meeting.

Faith’s plan includes goals to increase Lexile growth, improve classroom engagement and emphasize student passions.

Some of the goals in Carson’s plan includes mastery of standards in the district’s accountability model and having 100% of students articulate a post-graduation plan by 2021.

The board periodically approves new renewal plans. The plans are presented for implementation this school year. And while COVID-19 has upended public and private life, Faith Elementary had been facing possible closure in the 2021-2022 school year.

David Blattner, the district’s chief technology officer, will present a contract to upgrade network infrastructure at schools under e-rate category 2 funding, which is paid for mostly by federal funding. A remainder is provided by the state, except for network management services that will cost the district $35,100.

As part of the contract, the district would license 2,745 access points, replace 40 switches and 49 battery back ups.

The board will also discuss consolidation and redistricting, which the board has been discussion for years. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it had been considering Faith and Enochville elementary schools for closure after next school year.

BOE Chair Kevin Jones said the item is being included to keep the issue on the agenda and continue to discuss the timeline.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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