Stanly County Schools contracts with sub management business

Published 2:51 pm Friday, November 9, 2018

The Stanly County Board of Education hopes to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in substitute teacher costs by contracting with a substitute teacher management company.

The board unanimously approved contracting with Education Solution Services, which approached the board in October about the possibility of working with the school system.

Company representatives said the company could save school employees time and money by handling substitute teacher management.

James said he compared Stanly’s substitute teacher costs and realized that while Iredell-Statesville Schools employ more teachers, its system pays less in annual sub costs.

“So, our sub cost is about $500,000 too high,” James said. “So, a company like ESS, what they will do is help you manage and it will give us patterns.”

James noted that some may say the school system could do that work itself.

“It is evident that no one here has been doing it or we wouldn’t be a million dollars in sub costs,” James said, adding that since the school system reduced positions by attrition, employees have taken additional tasks and this fell through the cracks.

James said the company will notice “patterns of absenteeism” and provide data and a possible solution to the school system. It will also take on the bookkeeping tasks that currently take hours away from school employees, he said.

James said the school system negotiated favorable contract terms that would allow the county to use the company’s services from January until the end of June 2019 at a fraction of the normal cost. The school system will have to provide a 60-day notice to withdraw from the agreement if it decides not to continue with the company.


The board recognized several schools and staff members after enjoying a student performance from the musical “Hamilton” during its meeting Monday night.

A handful of students from Albemarle High School performed, “Alexander Hamilton,” the opening song, at the beginning of the meeting.

The board also recognized Adria Speights, an exceptional children’s teacher at Stanly Academy Learning Center, as the county’s EC Teacher of the Year.

James gave Stanly County Early College a Department of Public Instruction award for having a 100 percent graduation rate last school year.

He also gave certificates to several schools for meeting or surpassing academic goals. Stanly County Early College, Aquadale Elementary School, Badin Elementary School, Central Elementary School, East Albemarle Elementary School, North Stanly High School, South Stanly High School, Stanfield Elementary School, West Stanly High School and West Stanly Middle School were all honored.

The board also recognized North Stanly High School and South Stanly High School for receiving North Carolina High School Athletic Association sportsmanship awards.

Joy Hathcock, principal of Aquadale Elementary, told the board that when she arrived at the school to work, she was given a shirt that said, “Aquadale is the place to B,” incorporating Aquadale’s grade from the state. She noted that she wanted to make sure that the school truly is “the place to be.”

She said she’s spoken with students and staff, and has heard from families about their child’s experience. She also reviewed school data to see how students are performing.

Hathcock showed the board photos and short videos of students and classrooms, concluding she is pleased with the school’s success but she doesn’t want to “be complacent” in its efforts.

James apprised the board of a rural community grant the school system received. The funding will be used to add telepresence capability to the schools, enabling them to have a greater opportunity to learn from teachers around the world. The system also received 50 personal hotspot devices from Sprint’s The One Million Project. As of the meeting, it had given 38 of those to students. The project lets students who have no or unreliable internet receive personal hotspots and high-speed service for free in order to keep up with their peers’ learning.

So far, the school system has received nearly $6 million in grant money in the last four months, he said.

James and several board members bid farewell to fellow board members Sherry Vaughn and Todd Swaringen, both of whom served since 2014. Neither ran as a candidate for the board this year.

The board went into closed session and took no action upon resuming open session.

Imari Scarbrough is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News and Press.