Article from the Daily News May 21, 2013
Outsourcing substitutes? Provision in health care law may be necessary for district.
By LINDA MCALPINE Daily News Staff
Government and the private sector have long been outsourcing jobs and services, and now the West Bend School District is considering it for substitute teachers.
The district employs an average of 120-130 teachers on a substitute basis, but members of the school board’s Personnel and Finance Committee on Monday night discussed contracting with a company in Minnesota that would provide substitute teaching services.
Valley Elliehausen, school district chief operations officer, told the committee that outsourcing of these positions should be considered as a strategy to address aspects of the Affordable Care Act that will be phased in by the federal government starting in 2014.
Elliehausen said the act will require employers to offer minimum essential insurance coverage to employees who work 30 hours or more per week. Current substitute teachers in the district are not offered that benefit.
“It would be a manpower nightmare for us to keep track of the hours our subs work in order to ensure they do not meet that time threshold,” she said.
Keeping the hours less than 30 per week would be critical under the Affordable Care Act, as penalties are being proposed for employers not be in compliance.
Subs:A ‘win-win’ for West Bend School District
If the district did not comply with the act as it is proposed, it could face as much as $1.6 million in penalties, based on the number of employees that would be impacted by the 30-hour time threshold, Elliehausen said.
The outsourcing vendor being considered is Teachers On Call, headquartered in Bloomington, Minn., with an office in Madison.
According to the company’s website, it would take care of recruiting and interviewing, verifying work history and credentials, and conduct a background check on prospective substitute teachers.
It would then coordinate substitute teachers for the district on a daily basis. Since the subs would no longer be employed directly by the West Bend School District, Teachers On Call would also assume taking care of the payroll and overseeing benefits for the substitute teachers.
“Outsourcing would be a win-win,” Elliehausen said. “It would broaden the pool of substitute teachers the district has access to and it would also benefit the substitute teachers as they would have increased access to more job openings and receive benefits such as bonuses.”
Rick Parks, committee chairman and school board member, said the district “is really left with no choice but to consider a step like outsourcing.”
The school board will likely discuss outsourcing next month. No decision on it will be made until then.