JCBOE rejects $1.8 million extension, Source4Teachers gone from Jersey City Public Schools

The Jersey City Board of Education rejected a $1.8 million extension for Source4Teachers through the end of the school year, ending the firm’s relationship with Jersey City Public Schools.

April 23, 2015 Jersey City Board of Education meeting

April 23, 2015 Jersey City Board of Education meeting

Even Jersey City Superintendent Dr. Marcia Lyles recognized that “Source4Teachers (S4T) has been a bone of contention with the public, with teachers, with board members, for the last two years.”

After the Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE) voted 5-4 to reject a $1.8 million extension, S4T will no longer provide substitute services for Jersey City Public Schools (JCPS).

OFFICIAL VOTE

Voting to Reject – Vidya Gangadin, Gerald Lyons, Lorenzo Richardson, Marilyn Roman, and Joel Torres.

Voting to Accept – Micheline Amy, Jessica Daye, Sangeeta Ranade, and Ellen Simon.

JCPS Spokesperson Maryann Dickar said the administration has been in the process of transitioning substitute teacher services back to the district, but that the extension was only for the rest of the year.

Dickar said the district has been “working on recruiting more substitutes, but despite a focused effort from human resources they were still short on available substitutes.”

Echoing comments made by Dr. Lyles at the board meeting, Dickar stated that during the 2012-2013 school year the district had 250 substitutes and a 57% fill rate, and that the difference was made up with fifths (assigning teachers to cover other teachers classes during a prep period).

She added that the district will continue to “build our pool, but in the interim, almost all teacher absences will need to be covered internally.”

According to Dickar, the district already has 150 substitutes in the pipeline, and human resources is processing even more.

During the JCBOE meeting, board member Ellen Simon said that not supporting the contract extension was “unconscionable” because of the impact on children.

“For me the bottom line is that kids aren’t in empty classrooms,” said Simon.

Noting the 12-13 school year, Simon stated that for the 13-14 and 14-15 school years, S4T had a fill rate of 87% and 95%, respectively. She also claimed it cost the district roughly the same as doing it in-house, instead of outsourcing.

JCBOE President Vidya Gangadin, echoing board member Joel Torres, blamed the problem on poor planning by the district.

Citing the June 2014 meeting when S4T’s contract was renewed, Gangadin said it was done “with the intention that there would have been an infrastructure in place to build capacity. So that the district can house the subs here at the district, and not having Source4Teachers.”

To hear the full comments of Dr. Lyles at the board meeting, and a mix of commentary from board members, watch the video below:

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