"Certified Substitutes" Can't Replace Full-time Teachers
There is no substitute for the real thing.
That's the word from state leaders to Marion County, where dozens of "certified substitutes" were hired to teach full time.
After a teachers union filed a complaint about the school district, "PERC" known as the state's Public Employees Relations Commission released it's ruling against the use of full time certified substitutes.
"This is a practice that did not start last year when we filed. This is a practice that's been employed by the district for going on five years now," said Marion Education Association President Chris Altobello.
Altobello said after several attempts to reach out to the school district, the "MEA" had no choice but to file an unfair labor complaint in February.
"They were hiring these people which they titled "certified substitutes" to basically do the same thing that a regular teacher would do and they were paying them a $100 a day with no benefits and that's what we objected to," said Altobello.
In May,160 first year teachers were laid off, but two months later some were hired back as "certified substitutes"
"We planned to make 100 of 2600 teachers certified substitutes and not pay those individuals the same as we would pay regular teachers and it was done as a budget saving issue," said Superintendent George Tomyn.
This week "PERC" ruled that the district can't legally use certified substitutes as full time teachers.
Tomyn said the district will follow "PERC's" instructions.
"That's essentially three different things. We are going to cease and desist the practice of putting certified substitutes in the classrooms, we are going to pay attorney fees and we are going to post a sign that they've asked us to post that says we are complying with the regulations," said Tomyn.
Tomyn said he is working with an attorney to figure out if the "certified substitutes" are going to become full time teachers or if they will be replaced.
"We have a number of questions about exactly what to do with some of the current employees who are serving in those positions," said Tomyn.
There is no telling when the district will start making changes, but Altobello believes teachers aren't the only ones benefiting from the ruiling.
"No matter where are children are from Dunnellon to Sparr that they deserve a highly qualified, certified, full time professional educator," said Altobello.
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