Kelly Services will provide substitutes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 3, 1999

By Erik Sanzenbach / L’Observateur / July 3, 1999

RESERVE – Chris Donaldson was sworn in as the new superintendent of the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School System at the regular Thursdaymeeting of the School Board.

School Board Attorney John Diasselliss administered the oath while Donaldson’s wife, two daughters and brother-in-law looked on.

After the swearing-in ceremony, the board got down to business on the issue of assigning the substitute teacher program to Kelly Services.

The motion to accept the Kelly contract was unanimously approved.

The day before, Kelly Services made a presentation to the board’s Personnel Committee. Their program, called Kelly Educational Staffing,hires, screens, trains and assigns the substitute teachers. All the schooladministration has to do is call up Kelly each day and tell them how many substitutes are needed and in what schools they are needed.

Kelly also pays the salaries, medical benefits, Social Security and retirement of the substitute teachers.

Cost to the school system would be $540,000, or a 15 percent increase of costs being paid for substitutes now.

School system Director of Personnel Alfred Donaldson said that right now the system pays around $373,000 per year for substitutes.

A member of the St. John Association of Educators addressed concerns tothe board about this increase.

“Savings is not a big factor,” Alfred Donaldson admitted. “What we want todo is improve the substitute teacher system. Getting the right substitutesto the right school as soon as possible is a big problem for us, and I think Kelly Services can solve that problem for us.”Kelly Services will also customize its services to fit into the St. JohnSchool System. It will research all the procedures for each school in theparish and tell the substitutes what each school expects of them.

School Board member C.J. Watkins questioned Kelly’s evaluation process ofthe substitute teachers. Alfred Donaldson assured the board thatprincipals and teachers will be allowed to interview the substitutes and the school system administration will be allowed to observe and comment on Kelly Service’s training and orientation programs.

Superintendent Donaldson voiced his support for the Kelly system.

“I believe that if Kelly produces, we will have a larger and better trained pool of substitute teachers. We will hold Kelly accountable and watcheverything very closely.” he stated.School Board member Dowie Gendron was guardedly optimistic about the proposal.

“I see it as a win-win situation, provided it is what is stated here. But Iwant to make sure this is not just on paper. Kelly must be accountable,” hesaid.

Alfred Donaldson assured the board that even though the contract with Kelly Services is for six months, there is a 30-day escape clause, where either party could pull out of the contract for any reason after 30 days. Hesaid that Diasselliss had no problems with the contract.

“If we don’t like what we see, we’ll just go and find another way to do it,” he said. “We will watch everything closely, and see how it goes.”Alfred Donaldson said the Kelly program has been a big success in Gulfport, Miss. He talked to the people in that system and found they arehappy with the program.

In other business: The board unanimously agreed to take $13,000 from the construction fund to renovate the parking lot of East St. John Elementary School tomake a bus driver training area and improve parking at the school and Joe Keller Stadium.

Approved bid recommendations for food service equipment, cleaning supplies, paper supplies and small equipment for cafeterias.

Approved the changes made to the District’s Pupil Progression Plan for the continued implementation of high stakes testing of fourth- and eighth-grade students.

Unanimously passed a resolution to make the old superintendent’s automobile surplus equipment and put it up for public bids based its blue book value.

Finally, there was a new order of business on the matter of changing the requirements for people who want to change job descriptions within the school system. Under the old requirements, a person had to take theCalifornia Ability Test over again, even if that person had taken the test previously.

The board passed the motion saying that taking the test once was sufficient to change jobs.The motion passed 9-1, with board PresidentRichard DeLong voting against the resolution.

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