This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan is calling on the SRC to immediately cancel the contract with Source4Teachers. The District issued a statement saying it is "deeply disappointed" and has "put structures in place to insure accountability." Spokesman says fill rate is up to 15.6 percent today from the 11 percent cited in the tweet below.
— Jerry T. Jordan (@jerrytjordan) September 17, 2015
Given the problems with filling substitute positions since the School Reform Commmission gave the contract to an outside company, the Notebook asked to see the full SRC resolution on hiring Source4Teachers. You can read it for yourself below, but a few things caught our eye.
- The District was hoping both to vastly increase its "fill rate," from between 55 and 65 percent to 90 percent, while also saving $10 million a year.
Six companies responded, and only two, in the judgment of District staff, had the capacity to accomplish the daunting task of hiring and processing subs and reach the level of coverage that the District sought.
There was a negotiation about pricing and profit margins. The District asked the two shortlisted companies "to revisit certain rates that were deemed to high or too low to be feasible … once the District was satisfied that rates were feasible, there were several rounds of negotiations over the profit margins for each position submitted by the respondents." It’s unclear how the District judged what was "feasible." Teachers and PFT president Jerry Jordan have said that Source4Teachers’ low daily rates of pay are the reason the company is having a hard time signing up enough subs and getting them into schools.
The District’s response:
"Our expectation is that Source4Teachers reach a 75% fill rate by the start of the school year. The School District is deeply disappointed by their current performance. We have communicated that the continued unacceptable performance places their work with us in jeopardy. We have clearly stated our expectations for performance and have put structures in place to ensure accountability."