Lincoln schools using new service to fill substitute positions

Lincoln schools using new service to fill substitute positions

Subs will apply to and be managed by Source4Teachers

LINCOLN – School officials are hoping the search for substitute teachers and personnel is easier this academic year after partnering with Source4Teachers, an educational management service based in Connecticut that will recruit, screen and hire substitutes.

The partnership, effective this school year, will provide Lincoln with substitutes for teachers and teacher assistants in preschool through grade 12, custodial staff and secretaries at each school.

Supt. Georgia Fortunato explained that the School Department was having difficulties filling substitute positions, and said this program will provide more security and resources for the district.

Source4Teachers allows full-time teachers in Lincoln to log their absences electronically for tracking purposes, and fills daily and long-term roles for teachers, as well as non-instructional positions like nurses and custodians.

“Teachers want full time jobs, not part-time day-to-day work. Lack of substitutes is a national problem, just ask any superintendent,” Fortunato told The Breeze via email.

The superintendent said the School Department anticipates the partnership will cost between $450,000 and $500,000 for the school year. She said the department typically spends about $425,000 per year on substitutes, but expects “greater costs because of higher fill rates.”

That projected cost includes payment for the service, Fortunato said, and explained that the contract is for one school year with the option of two one-year renewals.

Last year, the superintendent said, the district had about 30 to 40 regular substitutes. According to a release, those individuals will be offered continued employment in Lincoln. Those substitutes, and individuals looking to work in the district for the first time, can apply to Source4Teachers by visiting lincolnps.org for future hiring event details, or see Source4Teachers.com .

Fortunato explained that substitutes will be paid the same amount this upcoming school year as previous academic years, but did not respond to The Breeze’s question about the amount substitutes are paid.

Fortunato explained the School Department chose Source4Teachers over other programs that do similar work after visiting Bridgeport, Conn., to see how Source4Teachers works first-hand, and after listening to two presentations Source4Teachers gave.

She said Source4Teachers was the “lowest responsive and responsible bidder” that replied to the School Department’s request for services.

“Source4Teachers brings tremendous expertise recruiting trained, qualified substitutes and a proven ability to manage and place them. Not only will this provide our students in the classroom greater continuity through a higher daily fill rate, it will also save our administrators time,” the superintendent said.

She told The Breeze “substitute management is their only focus, so we expect that they will be able to meet our substitute staffing needs much more effectively than we can.”

School Committee Chairwoman Kristine Donabedian explained that the school board voted to approve the partnership because “it was cost effective, it was administratively efficient for us.”

She explained that funding the partnership was taken into account in the School Department’s budget, and was examined before the School Committee granted approval for the agreement.

The chairwoman said she’s optimistic the collaboration will work in Lincoln’s favor, adding that the one-year contract with Source4Teachers will allow school officials to see how well the program works.

“I’m hoping for efficiencies. And like anything else, if a partnership doesn’t work, we don’t have to continue with it,” Donabedian said.