Recently, the Dothan City school board approved a staffing service to hire and place substitutes for local schools in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

Kelly Educational Staffing is now responsible for hiring and staffing schools with substitutes for teachers, aides, nurses and custodians.

They will conduct meetings to answer questions and review the hiring process, and administer any applicable paperwork. Meeting dates are July 23 and 25 at Highlands Elementary, July 30 and Aug. 1 at Carver School of Math, Science, and Technology, and Aug. 6 and 8 at Hidden Lake Elementary. Each day, there will be two sessions: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Attendance is required to transfer employment and to work in the Dothan City School district.

Prospective hires are asked to bring proof of eligibility to work in the United States, which can be a passport or two forms of identification, such as a driver’s license and a Social Security card, and copies of any teacher or substitute licenses, permits, or certifications.

Last year, DCS Superintendent Phyllis Edwards implemented procedures that resulted in a savings of almost 50 percent of substitute costs from the previous fiscal year. Now, substitutes are only allowed for classroom teachers and aides who have a 1-to-1 relationship with students, and nurses and custodians. Any exceptions must be approved by the superintendent or her designee.

The savings the new policy provides is expected to offset the additional cost of having Kelly Services Education Staffing manage and staff substitutes for DCS.

The agreement with Kelly Services entails that each substitute for the system be paid the approved rate for each class of substitute, plus a surcharge of 33 percent per teacher pay and 50 percent of nurses’ pay to serve as an administrative fee.

Chief Financial Officer Mike Manuel said an important reason for the switch was not only financial, but an effort to unburden teachers with the task of finding a substitute for their class during a possible emergency.

“This year, we’re going to do a substitute plan so they don’t have to all call their own substitutes, which, as a former teacher, I can’t even imagine when you wake up and you have the flu and you have to start calling people to come and cover,” Edwards said to city commissioners on Friday after inviting them to come to opening day in support of the faculty and staff part of the city school system. “So, we will have a substitute program ready for them electronically. They can just do it from home, poor things. You know, when you’re sick, you don’t want to do that.”

Teachers will still be able to select their preferences for substitutes through the Kelly Services system.

Kelly Educational Staffing is the same service used by many surrounding school districts including Houston County. For the past two years, its Dothan office has been able to maintain a 91 percent fill rate for Houston County schools.

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