TAMPA – When Hillsborough classrooms need a substitute teacher, they usually get one — about eight of 10 times.
But starting in the fall, the school district will work to push that rate toward 100 percent by outsourcing the job.
Kelly Educational Staffing, a division of temp giant Kelly Services, works with more than 4,200 schools in 35 states to recruit, hire and place substitute teachers and other school employees such as administrative assistants, custodial workers and school nurses.
District officials approached the company because they weren’t happy with their substitute teacher fill rate of 79 percent.
On average, 1,100 of Hillsborough County’s 14,000 teachers could be absent from school on any given day. If a sub isn’t placed in a classroom where a teacher is absent, an administrator might step in or classes are combined.
Kelly Services promises to improve that rate for Hillsborough, the eighth-largest school district in the nation.
“On certain days, we have a great need for subs,” district spokesman Stephen Hegarty said. “We don’t have the fill rate we wanted to have.”
Hillsborough’s teacher attendance rate is actually one of the best among 40 of the nation’s largest school districts, according to a report released this week.
About 30 percent of Hillsborough teachers miss at least 11 days of school, a number considered frequent absences by the National Council on Teacher Quality.
In Orange and Duval counties, at least half of the teachers are considered to be frequently absent, according to the report.
The Orange County school district signed a contract with Kelly Services in 2006 and saw its fill rate jump from 78.8 percent in 2005 to nearly 99 percent the following year and 99.1 percent in 2013. In Duval County, which also contracts with Kelly, the fill rate is 99 percent.
“It relieves them of the administrative burden,” said Denise Ridenour, Kelly spokeswoman at headquarters in Michigan.
“The impact on the classroom and continuity of instruction is affected when there are absences,” said Javier Melendez, human resources director for the school district in Orange. “We felt the impact and we wanted to make sure that the school day is not disrupted significantly.”
Orange, the country’s 11th-largest school district, has close to 2,500 substitute teachers, said Melendez, adding that training and orientation sessions were key in making a smooth transition.
“They have delivered all the business promises they have made,” he said. “We are very pleased.”
The Hillsborough County School Board approved its own contract with the company – based on Orange County’s – on April 29.
Current Hillsborough subs who wish to keep working can attend one of several transition meetings being held throughout June to become Kelly Services employees. Their pay will not change. Meeting times are at hcsd.appone.com.
Those who are new to the district will need to complete a two-hour online training session, orientation, an in-person interview and fingerprinting.
To work as a Hillsborough substitute teacher
Visit http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/HumanResources/Substitutes.asp or call Kelly Services at 518-5999.