In the wake of the recent controversial decision to outsource food service workers and custodial staff in the district, Quakertown has now decided to add substitute teachers to the growing list of subcontracted employees.
School board officials voted, 8-1, at their Nov. 14 meeting in favor of using Source4Teachers, a staffing company that recruits and trains substitute teachers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The district Director of Human Resources, Nancianne Edwards, said the change will be in effect starting Feb. 1, 2014 and be virtually “invisible to teachers and principals.”
Officials say the need to subcontract out substitutes is related to the new health care reform law.
“I can’t say it saves a lot of money to do this,” Edwards said, “But it does save us money in not having to pay health benefits in the future for the positions that were not designed for that.”
Currently a substitute’s pay rate is $95 per day through the district, which is reportedly the lowest in the area; however, along with additional money going to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System, the total rate comes closer to $190 per day. With the new Source4Teachers contract, the district would pay the regular $95 per day and additional fees to the staffing company, bringing the total to $130 per day.
Edwards explained the benefits of using Source4Teachers will allow for a much larger pool of substitutes and better training opportunities, as well. Long-term substitutes will still be considered employees of Quakertown School District.
In other business, officials also voted 8-1 in favor of the temporary tax abatement agreement (LERTA) with U.S. Cold Storage, a refrigeration company that has plans to build a distribution warehouse in Richland Township on Pumping Station Road.
School Board President Bob Smith opposed the agreement, while board member Paul Stepanoff supported the decision, stating, “We will be increasing revenues, not decreasing them – and bringing more jobs to the area.”
Smith announced that U.S. Cold Storage has already purchased the property for $2.9 million and that the district will be receiving some of the transfer tax money, which totaled $58,000.
The LERTA agreement will last 10 years with U.S. Cold Storage receiving 100 percent tax exemption in the first year and 90 percent all the other years to follow until hitting the end of the agreement. The potential yearly tax revenue to the school district is said to be $257,000 after the 10-year mark.