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Leechburg Area renews substitute teachers contract

| Friday, July 1, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

The Leechburg Area School District renewed its contract with the firm that provides substitute teachers.

The agreement with Source4Teachers is for the upcoming school year. The district pays the company for the teachers' salaries plus a fee equal to 1.3 percent of those salaries.

Last year, that amounted to a little more than $100,000, including the cost of aides and secretary substitutes.

Following concerns raised by teachers, the school board asked Source4Teachers district manager Jeff Hite to address how the company plans to improve substitute teacher staffing.

In the 2015-16 school year, the company was able to fill about 77 percent of teacher absences.

He said Source4Teachers has a goal to staff 90 percent of openings at its Pennsylvania schools this coming year.

Hite said he plans to visit the district every two weeks to work on any problems and ensure the district's satisfaction. He said the number of Western Pennsylvania districts for which he's responsible was cut from 30 to 13, so he'll be able to provide them with more individualized attention.

The company is implementing a new requirement for the substitute teachers it hires: they must work at least four days and one Friday each month. They're hopeful that this will increase the staffing ability to fill the slots.

Other ways Sources4Teachers plans to increase the fill rate in Leechburg Area are through recruitment of recent graduates, job fairs, regional recruitment and attending district events, where they plan to have an information table.

They'll also be eliminating any teachers on Leechburg's current call list that have never accepted an assignment in the district, he said.

“That way it doesn't call people that aren't willing to take the assignment,” Hite said.

Board president Terri Smith said she was pleased that Hite addressed their concerns.

“He anticipated some of (teachers') concerns, which was impressive because he apparently had already looked into it and saw there were some issues, too,” she said. “It's nice to know there's a company out there that keeps reviewing so they can improve.”

Jodi Weigand is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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