An outsourcing proposal strongly opposed by teaching assistants last month has since been revised to include only substitute teachers at Oak Ridge Schools.
The new proposal to use Professional Educational Services LLC, or PESG, of Nashville, to provide substitute teachers will be considered by the Oak Ridge Board of Education during a Monday evening meeting.
The outsourcing proposal began as an attempt to help the school system comply with the reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act and to avoid potentially large fines of up to $1.2 million for errors that might be made in following the new federal health care law.
But during a school board meeting last month, teachers, teaching assistants, family members, and parents said teaching assistants would be concerned about their health care and retirement benefits if they were to become PESG employees. They also questioned the benefits of outsourcing in general, and they praised the work of Oak Ridge’s TAs.
The revised proposal included in the school board’s agenda packet for the Monday meeting said PESG would charge $36,065 to provide substitute teachers for Oak Ridge Schools.
The proposal said the Affordable Care Act requires that all employers offer affordable and adequate health care to employees who work 30 hours or more per week. A failure to comply could result in large fines.
“This requirement applies to all employees, including variable hour employees such as substitutes,” the proposal said. “To comply with the ACA reporting standards, Oak Ridge Schools must be able to track and monitor substitute hours of work in order to meet federal guidelines.”
The schools’ staff said an internal solution could cost an estimated $187,971. Administrators said they think the contracted services would be the most effective and efficient solution. They said the district has successfully outsourced two other non-core operational functions: food service and transportation.
“As these efforts have shown, outsourcing offers advantages including fiscal and operational efficiencies; cost savings from employer-related benefits such as retirement, Social Security, and Medicare; as well as cost avoidance from general liability, worker’s compensation, and unemployment,” the proposal said.
It’s not clear yet if there will be as much opposition to the revised proposal as there was to the earlier proposal.
The Monday meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the School Administration Building at 304 New York Ave. See the school board meeting agenda here.
See the outsourcing proposal here: PESG Substitute Teacher Proposal.