When school resumes on January 5 for Dayton Public Schools (DPS), an out-of-state company will be in charge of placing substitute teachers (called “reserve teachers” in Dayton) in classrooms. For Wisconsin-based Parallel Employment Group, the one million dollar contract they scored in Dayton is their first foray into Ohio and, sadly, does not appear to be their last.
This situation didn’t happen overnight, and it appears as though the strategy that Dayton is using to privatize services at the expense of union employees is self-created. For years, the DPS administration has been under-hiring reserve teachers, keeping the pool of teachers too low to reliably and adequately cover classrooms when teachers are absent. Instead of fixing the internal problem, however, the superintendent and school board pulled a fast one at their May 20 school board meeting, introducing a resolution to outsource (privatize) the hiring and management of substitute teachers to the lowest bidder, sending Ohio’s public education dollars to an out-of-state company with no previous experience in Ohio.
At that May 20 meeting, the school board took a special vote to allow the Superintendent to introduce a resolution to hire the company and allow the board to approve it without the normal notice afforded to the public. Here are the key parts of that resolution:
WHEREAS, the District will continue to honor the reserve teachers’ contract through the length of its term, which expires August 31, 2014. The current reserve teacher membership will be afforded the opportunity to apply for positions with the managed services provider. It is our goal that these positions will be filled from our region;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The Dayton City School District Board of Education approves a contract with Parallel Employment Group for managed reserve teacher services. The term of this contract will begin September 1, 2014 and continue until June 30, 2015 with options to renew, at an annual base cost of $1,164,082.00.
Lori L. Ward
In the first paragraph, you’ll see a reference to the “reserve teachers’ contract” expiring. Upon the expiration of that contract, the school board has effectively destroyed that union. They then subsequently agreed to a contract with an annual “base cost” of over one million dollars. We currently have an outstanding public records request for the contract and will post the exact details of all of the variable costs when and if Dayton honors our request.
What we DO know is that Parallel has posted the following ad on craigslist seeking to hire substitute teachers:
Parallel Education Division is now hiring 100 full-time and part-time Teachers and Substitute Teachers for the 2014-2015 school year. Parallel Education Division places Teachers and Substitute Teachers in the Dayton, Ohio Public School Districts and Charter Schools covering both daily and long term sub needs.
Pay $91-$112 per day
• Possess a strong desire and passion for education
• Have strong classroom management skills.
• Be able to teach in urban classrooms, and have the ability to mentor and engage the students.
• One year experience in a classroom setting is preferred but not required.
Parallel will provide all candidates with Sub Essentials Substitute Teacher training and mandated reporter training.
As a teacher with Parallel Employment – Education Division, you will enjoy meaningful work with a dynamic company that strives towards excellence in education and learning.
The story in Dayton gets worse, however. While the district was allowed to mismanage the hiring and placement of reserve teachers for long enough to then throw up their hands and claim the need for privatization (without any clear proof that this company can actually solve the “problem” that allegedly existed), the district is now working the same scheme (administrative ineptitude) with their transportation workers currently represented by OAPSE.
Conveniently enough, Parallel Employment Group seems to be able to solve any workforce management crisis that a district could manufacture. If the administration in DPS continues to be unable to run the district without seeking help from a private company, the Dayton School Board might soon find out if they can outsource the superintendency, ultimately privatizing the entire district and putting them all out of a job.
This is a scenario that Ohioans should be wary of under the current state administration which has made no secret of its desire to break unions and privatize services, even if it means sending Ohio’s tax dollars out of state.