The Long County Board of Education heard a presentation from a substitute-staffing service during the board’s meeting Monday.
Kelly Educational Services District Manager Doug Snyder told the board his company provides substitute staffing for schools in all areas except bus drivers. KES is established in 35 states, including 17 school districts in Georgia. Area counties that use its services include Tattnall, Chatham, Jeff Davis and Appling.
Snyder said that KES applicants go through a seven-year background check as well as a sex-offender check.
He said KES can benefit both the school system and the substitute employees. The school system can save administrative costs and also decrease its workman’s compensation payments, while employees benefit because KES provides them with an option to carry health and dental insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan and the possibility to earn cash bonuses.
All current substitute teachers are placed in its system before any further recruiting is conducted, and each principal has the ultimate say on whether a substitute can work at their school, Snyder said.
He said that school system signs an annual contract with KES, but can opt out of the services with a 30-day notice. He said using KES is a “win-win” situation for both the school system and the part-time substitute employees.
Though many board members acknowledged that KES appears to have many positives, two members had concerns about hiring local and cost savings.
“We have to make sure our citizens in our county have a job (before we look elsewhere) … we want what is best for the employer, the employees and the citizens of Long County,” board member Florence Baggs said.
“I’m looking at long term. What we can go into for the long-term savings?” BoE Chairwoman Janet Watford asked.
When asked to provide figures on a contract’s cost, Synder said he couldn’t give a cost without more information.
Also Monday, the board discussed recent EOCT (End of Course Test) scores in math, which had declined from previous years. Long County High School Principal Scotty Hattaway said the scores are a concern, but that there are a lot of contributing factors. Changes to the testing procedures had much to do with the decline, and the majority of the high schools in the state saw a decline in math.
Hattaway said the high school provided remediation and extra work in an effort to do well in the testing. He also recently visited several schools that did well in order to get ideas for Long County.
The consensus of board members was that they realized teachers and staff are working hard to do well, but that something has to be done to improve math scores.
In other business, the BoE:
• appointed Amy Howard to the library board, replacing Heather Bralut.
• set the next meeting for 6:30 p.m. July 21.
• approved the amended fiscal year 2014 budget.
• approved closing out the Long County High School construction project.