Subs get pay boost as Philipsburg-Osceola contracts with third party

Philipsburg-Osceola’s substitute teachers are about to be looking at a pay increase.

The school board voted Tuesday night to increase the daily rate for subs from $80 to $90. Teachers who rack up more than 30 days filling in for their regular-contract counterparts will move up to $100 a day, a move the administration hopes will encourage subs, who are often on substitute lists at multiple districts, to say yes to another day at P-O if they have the chance.

The increase is part of a larger move.

The board also approved a service contract with Source4Teachers to provide the substitutes to the district.

Source4Teachers is a New Jersey-based company with three Pennsylvania offices. The company acts as the third-party employer of substitute teachers, providing them to districts in return for a percentage fee. P-O’s contract stipulates a 29.9 percent fee locked in over three years. For the $90 starting salary, that means the district will pay another $26.91 to Source4Teachers for that temporary employee, making the total cost $116.91.

However, the fee buys the district more than just a teacher, said Superintendent Gregg Paladina. It buys loopholes.

Districts all over Pennsylvania have been fretting over the looming problems of the Public School Employee Retirement System, with ever-increasing contributions from employers. By having the substitutes be employed by the third-party agency, the district bypasses any issues of PSERS contributions.

The district also avoids any issues with the federal Affordable Care Act. Paladina said that the private company works under a different set of rules for ACA than the school district does.

The new rates and the contract passed unanimously, with the exception of abstentions from board member Jim Verbeck, whose daughter is on the district’s list of approved substitutes.