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School board adopts new program to streamline hiring substitutes
To increase efficiency and accountability among staff requesting substitutes to fill their place during sick days, the Pine River-Backus School Board on Monday, May 20, agreed to begin using Aesop, an electronic system for managing placement of substitute teachers.
Elementary Principal Jackie Bruns said clerical staff in the elementary school sometimes face high stress and extremely late or early hours to find substitutes to fill in for absent teachers. Staff managing substitute placement have reported they can spend up to 14 hours in three days seeking substitutes to fill vacancies.
If those hours occur outside of a normal work schedule, those staff members sometimes comp their time to make up for those hours. That means they are sometimes missing during normal work hours while they are needed for other work.
Aesop is a networking program that posts substitute openings and tracks availability of substitute teachers to automate the system that once required clerical workers to fill out forms, turn them in for authorization and call sometimes dozens of substitute teachers. Cindy Felthous, human resource director, said substitutes have recently been asking why the school does not already use the system that is active in other schools, such as Crosby-Ironton and Hill City.
Because there was some question of annual cost, board members inquired whether the program would actually be worth purchasing. Felthous suggested that the automated system would increase the amount of time clerical workers could spend on other important work, and even increase productivity and efficiency.