By Dave Russell

 

With substitute teachers harder than ever to come by, Jackson County Public Schools has partnered with national company Education Staffing Solutions to fill those openings.

ESS will manage the recruitment, hiring, training and placement of substitute teachers and school aides, effective on or before March 15.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the sub shortage.

“It has been a little bit harder to find subs, but things are getting better,” JCPS Director of Human Resources Kevin Bailey said. “It’s a lot easier finding subs at this point than back in the fall.”

ESS has a more pointed approach than Kelly Services, which the school system had been using.

“They only do staffing for school systems,” Bailey said. “They offer payroll and benefits for subs. One benefit for subs is they get a weekly paycheck, whereas we pay once a month.”

Once registered with ESS, subs are assigned to open positions across the county.

“For every sub who is hired, ESS gets a percentage on top of what we would pay that sub,” he said. “The number one thing is that we feel our fill-rates will be better. We really want our fill-rates to be 95 percent or greater. ESS has better incentive programs for their subs. They do weekly and monthly raffles. They also want to be a business partner and sponsor things like teacher of the year and other programs we are doing.”

ESS is hiring for an administrative position as well.

“One of the greatest things they are doing is that they are going to put a full-time employee here in the central office whose job is to do nothing but to manage subs,” he said. “They want to hire someone really local. Even though they are a national company, they want to have a full-time person from the community who knows people to work here to make sure we are recruiting subs and getting people in the buildings. That’s really going to help our fill-rates and make sure we have quality people in front of our kids.”

That job would pay about $40,000-46,000 per year and is posted on indeed.com, he said.

It can be found by using the terms “sylva manager” in the indeed search function.

The system currently draws from about 70 subs total for its needs.

“When you can’t find a sub, then the school just ends up trying to pull somebody from another area, which is a hardship on the school trying to serve those kids that way,” he said. 

Non-certified subs (no teacher license) make $80 daily, while certified subs (with teacher license) earn $103 daily.

Individuals who are interested in substitute teaching for Jackson County Public Schools can call Teshia McIver at 803-335-6717 for more information or complete the online application at www.ess.jobs.