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Monessen hires substitute teacher firm

| Thursday, May 22, 2014, 12:11 a.m.

The Monessen School Board hopes it has solved the district's recent shortage of available substitute teachers.

At its monthly agenda meeting Wednesday, the board approved a contract with New Jersey-based Source4Teachers, a company that provides substitute teachers on a daily basis to school districts.

The district will pay the company $110.42 for each full-day substitute and $55.21 for a half-day substitute. The company will call and schedule the teachers to fill-in on an as-need basis.

Source4Teachers assumes the responsibility for recruiting, training and managing its substitute teachers. According to the contract, those substitutes will be considered employees of the company, not the school district.

Business manager Linda Powell said substitute teachers will still receive the standard district pay of $85 for a full day and $42.50 for a half day. The company will receive the remaining money as a fee.

“Since the sub pool was so sparse, they could pick and choose where they want to go,” Hall said after the meeting. “If I call you today and you say ‘yes' at 6:30 a.m. and 10 minutes later Peters (Township) calls and they pay $100 (per day), it's ‘bye Monessen.'

“With this company, they will have a greater pool to help us staff for absences and we won't have to track our subs' hours anymore.”

Board president Donna Fantauzzi said the district can opt out of the contract within 90 days if administrators are not satisfied.

Fantauzzi acknowledged a recent drought of available substitute teachers has forced district teachers to cover other classes during their planning periods.

Fantauzzi called the move a “cost savings.” Powel agreed. Fantauzzi noted the Jeannette School District hired the same company.

“When you don't have someone to come in and sub, then another teacher has to pick up that class and then they get paid extra money,” Fantauzzi explained. “This is a savings to us to do this. And if it doesn't work, we can get out of the contract, but we are excited about it.”

The board also introduced its tentative general fund budget for the 2014-2015 school year with expenditures estimated at $13,882,105. Board members noted the budget does not require a property tax increase. Three other local districts – Charleroi Area, Belle Vernon Area and Ringgold – have introduced budgets that could increase property tax millage.

Hall said the district did not have to make any cuts to curriculum and is anticipating four retirements, but that it has cut down on expenditures such as field trips.

The budget will be available for public inspection at the superintendent's office until a final budget is adopted June 19.

In other action, the board:

• Accepted the retirements of support services coordinator Doug Halinka and custodian John Beaumont.

• Approved the Charel Allen Basketball Camp June 28 at the high school gymnasium.

• Entered into two one-year agreements with Adelphoi Education Services in Greensburg for alternative education programs. One contract is for elementary students and the other covers middle/high school students.

• Elected Amy Bukowski as school board treasurer for a one-year term that runs from July 1 through June 30, 2015.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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