The Warren County Board of Education voted to contract with a new substitute employment vendor with the hopes of increasing the pay for some supplementary teachers.
During Thursday evening’s meeting of School Board members, Director of Schools Bobby Cox recommended a company called ESS out of Knoxville after interviewing five companies that submitted proposals when a request for proposals went out.
“They had a lower cost percentage than our current vendor, which is Kelly Services,” said Cox. “They also said they would look at increasing the pay to certified staff to $70. Classified staff would be $60, which is what we pay right now. We would see a little bit of a cost savings right there depending on how many certified come back in.”
Kelly Services has been the school’s substitute teacher provider for 20 years. However, over the last couple of years, School Board members have voiced discontent for its higher cost percentage and have a desire to supply substitute teachers with a pay increase.
“It is a big change to a vital service,” said School Board member Teddy Jones. “I appreciate all the work that’s gone into this. Just to clarify, you said they were going to look into that. On the sheet it said that they will.”
Cox replied, “As far as the cost for certified versus non-certified substitute, yes. Of course, that is subject to board approval. If the board approves that, then that’s the way we would go.”
Jones also questioned the transition process for substitute teachers currently working for Kelly Services.
Cox said all substitute teachers must apply to ESS.
“I think they said they would be more than willing to work with those that are currently subbing,” said Cox. “They have their own process for onboarding and making sure they would be their employees. If they are currently in the pool, one of the things we discussed is background checks and making sure they had all that. If they have not had a break in service, then they wouldn’t have to go back through that. If they have had a break in service, then they would have to go through the process.”
The contract with ESS is three years, with two, one-year optional extensions.
School Board members unanimously approved entering into a contract with ESS as the school’s substitute employment vendor beginning July 1, 2020. In attendance were Jones, Tanya Bess, Sue Anderson, James Bennett, Teddy Jones, Helen Martin and Bill Zechman.
The contract will be under consideration by the full Warren County Commission.