- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines Public Schools district is rethinking its proposal to outsource the hiring of substitute teachers to a temp agency.

District spokesman Phil Roeder told The Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/1ENQ2To ) on Friday that district leaders will seek additional community input, then put together another proposal. He said that could result in a variation on the current outsourcing proposal, or another option altogether.

“The real work, of course, will be determining which ideas are workable and remain on the table,” Roeder said.

District officials said earlier this month that they were considering a proposed $854,000-a-year contract with Kelly Educational Staffing.

District officials said the temp agency would use the same standards for substitute teachers and that the move could benefit students because the agency would increase Des Moines’ competitiveness with suburban districts for qualified substitutes.

But Andrew Rasmussen, president of the Des Moines teachers union, said outsourcing could cut the number of licensed substitutes who have completed a teacher preparation program - which is required of full-time teachers - and instead increase the number of substitutes with less training. The union does not represent substitutes.

Substitute teacher Charles Zanders Sr., a retired marketing manager, said he would stop working as a substitute before switching to an outsourcing company. Zanders believes temp agencies erode the middle class.

“If they go with a temp agency, I’m gone,” he said. “I’ll find something else to do that interests me.”

About 190 of Des Moines’ 2,800 classroom teachers are absent on any given day.

No timeline is set, although some hope a solution can be developed by fall.

“I think it’s a good move, to listen to what the community has to say,” said school board member Pat Sweeney, who opposes outsourcing. “It’ll be nice to have something in place by next school year.”

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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