Changes to Philly substitute teacher plan to be unveiled at SRC meeting

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Philadelphia Schools Superintendent William Hite intends to present a new plan for covering teacher vacancies after months of dissatisfaction with a New Jersey contractor hired to supply substitutes.

Source 4 Teachers of Cherry Hill was awarded the district contract to provide 75 percent of the teachers needed by the district on any given day. In September, its fill-in rate was only 11 percent. That’s increased, but only slightly.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said changes will be proposed at the School Reform Commission meeting Thursday night.

“We have seen a gradual increase in the fill rate.  Yesterday’s fill rate was 27 percent, which was the rate on Monday, which are actually the highest rates we’ve seen so far,” Gallard said Wednesday. “So, we are going to be making some changes to the contract.”

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Jerry Jordan, head of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said when his union members filled those slots, they did better than the contractor — and more teachers wanted to be substitutes.

“The district certainly could have improved the fill rate if they had done as we suggested, and that was to allow more retirees who wished to sub the opportunity to be able to do so,” Jordan said. “The district just flat-out denied them the opportunity to register to be substitute teachers.”

As for what the plan is … Gallard was not specific. He did say Source 4 teachers would be involved.

“Basically those changes are going to be refocusing their services into things they are going to be more successful at,” he said.

Source 4 Teachers declined comment until the plan is made official. 

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