Philadelphia schools have handed over management of their substitute teacher workforce to Source4Teachers, a business that specializes in staffing solutions "for public and charter schools":
Filling part-time positions can be a full-time task—especially in today's demanding educational environment. At Source4Teachers, our only job is helping you do yours as effectively and efficiently as possible.
S4T has run into trouble in some of the markets it has moved into. With typical complaints about the service including unqualified subs and ballooning costs (but stagnant sub wages). In at least one case, S4T's contract was terminated after allegations of hitting a student.
A look at glassdoor.com shows middling employee satisfaction, though at least one former internal employee (a recruiter) was not a happy camper.
CEO is socially awkward and the President of the organization has a God complex and depending on the day of the week or which way the wind is blowing your guess is as good as anyone's as to how you might be treated on a given day. Benefits are non-existent, leadership is void. The COO is a former administrator that couldn't manage his way out of a paper bag.
The most common complaint was the level of pay. Looks like that's going to be the complaint in Philadelphia as well. The new pay scale (certified teachers, any grade, will be paid $90 per day; non-certified teachers, any grade, will be paid $75. And special-education positions pay the highest rate at $110 per day) represents a pay cut of well over 50% in some cases.
Philly, like many districts, has a sub shortage. My own neck of the woods has a pretty regular problem getting substitutes in. Once upon a time, substitutes were either young teachers trying to get a foot in the door, homemakers looking for some extra money, or retired teachers. All three of those streams have dried up, primarily because substituting pays really, really badly.
While nobody was watching, sub pay has fallen far, far behind. When I returned to the area in 1980, a day of subbing paid $50. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $144 today. But the going rate locally is about $85.
Administrators continue to scratch their heads over the sub shortage. This is not a mystery. Hiring personnel is like paying for any good or service-- if the seller will not give you what you want for the price you've named, you have to offer more.
It will be interesting to see how Sourc4Teachers makes out in Philly. Their big trick seems to be scooping up lots of warm bodies that don't necessarily have teaching qualifications, which may be helpful if Philly's current pool of 400 teachers suddenly gets smaller. But if they have trouble getting enough qualified subs, I believe they can find the solution in any Economics 101 textbook.