Statement by ISEA President Tammy Wawro on DMPS proposal to outsource substitute teachers

DES MOINES, IA (05/05/2015)(readMedia)-- The ISEA is disappointed in the lack of creativity and disregard for students exhibited by members of the Des Moines School Board in their proposed solution to the shortage of substitute teachers in the Des Moines Public School District (DMPS). Outsourcing the substitutes in an effort to meet a "fill" rate ignores the most important aspect of what the school board is elected to do: Take care of students first.

Proposing a substitute pipeline through Kelly Services, a temp agency whose contract was recently terminated in the Clear Lake School District for not meeting its financial savings goals will cost DMPS more than $850,000. This money would be better spent developing a high-quality, in-house, permanent substitute teacher pool utilizing professionals who are familiar with local students, schools, classrooms and teachers.

Utilizing our professional retirees and recent graduates, who were not hired in their first year out of teacher prep school, is a good place to start in developing an in-house, permanent substitute pool. A permanent pool allows for classroom and student familiarity, professional development opportunities and continuity for students. Teachers know which subs work well in their classrooms. Having an outsourced string of temps who are unfamiliar with local schools coming in and out of classrooms doesn't benefit our students. The Des Moines Public School Board simply must look at the big picture, not just a fill rate.


The Iowa State Education Association is a professional association made up of over 34,000 educators who are dedicated to promoting and preserving quality public education for all students.