- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Plans to outsource substitute teaching jobs in the Philadelphia School District have caused outrage among teacher’s union members who are concerned over how it will affect their positions.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers planned to stage informational pickets over the deal, which would affect all per-diem and long-term substitutes who are unionized.

The School Reform Commission is set to award Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based Source 4 Teachers up to $34 million later this month to provide substitutes in classrooms, a move that will privatize 1,324 jobs and save the school system $10 million annually.

Union president Jerry Jordan told The Philadelphia Inquirer (https://bit.ly/1RONoWp ) he will consult with lawyers to try to stop the plan.

“We are exploring all legal options,” Jordan said.

Substitutes cost the district $18 million annually, but just 64 percent of the jobs are filled on average, leaving schools scrambling to cover classes when sub spots are unfilled.

Naomi Wyatt, the district’s human resources chief, said Source 4 Teachers’ contract guarantees a 90 percent fill rate at a projected cost of $15.9 million annually by January 2016. If the district can match that amount, it would spend $27 million a year.

Source 4 Teachers will set the substitute’s pay rate, which is currently between $47.63 and $160.10, depending on certification and days worked. It would face penalties if it didn’t meet standards on the quantity and quality of subs.

Philadelphia would be the firm’s largest contract, Wyatt said.

“They have a strong footprint already,” Wyatt said. “Between the people they have already working in Montgomery or Bucks or Delaware counties, we really were most confident in their ability to have enough people in their pool.”

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Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, https://www.inquirer.com

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