Source4Teachers back in Jersey City Public Schools through end of May on $172,800 contract
During a special meeting for a “Substitute Placement Services Contract,” the Jersey City Board of Education approved an amended resolution providing $172,800 of funding for Source4Teachers through May 31, 2015.
After initially rejecting more funding for Source4Teachers (S4T), the outsourcing firm which provides substitute teaching services will be back in Jersey City Public Schools (JCPS) after the board of education (JCBOE) approved an additional $172,800 through May 31, 2015.
The special meeting comes eleven days after the board initially rejected $1.8 million in additional funding for S4T through the end of the school year.
Numerous members of the public spoke out regarding the resolution, including Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) President Ronnie Greco against, and former board member Bertram Okpokwasili in support.
Okpokwasili said “this is a moral issue, ok, the [last vote] I believe created a man made crisis because of political reasons, political theater.”
“The fact is we need to be able to fill our classrooms with the instructors to provide a safe environment for our special needs children, this seems more political theatre than good administration… Sometimes teachers will be absent, and it’s up the district to formulate a solution – last week the board voted on removing a solution which some people call Source4Teachers.”
Greco said that he didn’t think the district was “allocating resources properly,” and stressed that the administration start using “in-house talent” to handle substitute teachers instead of S4T.
In addition, Greco suggested that the board vote on the S4T contract on a weekly basis, and cut out workshops that remove teachers from the classroom.
Regarding why the original $4 million contract for S4T was not enough, Dr. Marcia Lyles cited a 347% increase in administrative leaves, including a 200% increase in district training, 75% increase in professional days, and 130% increase in supplemental assignments.
Lyles said that the major increase in supplemental assignments surrounded PARCC training and testing, but that it wasn’t an issue moving forward – which is reflected in the smaller contract for S4T.
The meeting heated up at the end when board member Ellen Simon accused Greco and the JCEA of using the S4T contract for political “grandstanding.”
In addition, Simon said she was “embarrassed” by the actions of the board at the last meeting for not thinking of what would happen the next school week, and that she felt the JCEA would continue to use the contract situation as a political tool.
Board VP Marilyn Roman responded by saying the district had no plan for what they were going to do the Monday after the board meeting, and that it was their plan to force the board to vote for the original $1.8 million contract.
Board President Vidya Gangadin, who has opposed the Source4Teachers contract in the past, said, “we’re a large district and we should take full responsibility in funding our own [substitute program].” She stressed, “the district has to take an aggressive approach in hiring subs.”
Before the board voted on the new funding, Roman motioned to amend the resolution to $172,800 from $288,000, which equates to seventy-five substitutes a day. The motion passed 5-1, with Simon the lone No vote, board members Micheline Amy and Jessica Daye abstaining, and Sangeeta Ranade absent.
The amended resolution subsequently passed with the same vote.