At least 50 Kennett Consolidated School District employees displaced by last spring’s outsourcing decision are returning to the district this fall.
At the Monday, July 8 monthly school board meeting, human resources director Nancy Tischer confirmed that 50 of the 66 district’s former teaching assistant and support staff members were going through CCRES’s hiring process, with the goal of returning to their previous positions when school starts in August.
Last spring, the district entered into an agreement with the non-profit CCRES to provide their schools with assistants and paraprofessionals, eliminating the district’s need to pay into the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement (PSERS) fund and savings hundreds of thousands each year.
Tischer said that the 50 employees had already attended a training and introductory orientation session with CCRES and are making progress towards approval as full-time employees this fall.
Tischer said they also scheduled five hiring workshops days for the returning employees.
“We really only needed three – we were simply able to get everybody in,” she said.
Tischer said that eight of the district’s substitutes are also moving through the hiring process.
The best part of the situation, Tischer said, is that 87 people at CCRES are eager to assume positions within the district.
“In doing the math, we only need eight people to be hired out of 87 possibilities,” she said. “I think that’s pretty exciting for the district.”
Superintendent Barry Tomasetti reiterated that the agreement hammered out between CCRES and the district gives Kennett the final say in who is hired and in what position they take once they’re on board, as well as in the evaluation process.
“It’s been very successful so far, we’re very pleased,” Tischer said.
She added that 13 employees displaced by the outsourcing decision are not returning, having officially retired or resigned, and one in the process of dismissal by the district.
When asked how close in percentage the number of employees lost was on average for the district, Tischer said they do not usually have a high turnover rate.
“People are generally happy here,” she said. “People like to stay in Kennett.”
The decision to outsource the support and teaching assistant staff was made in April, just months after the district started exploring the option.
The administration also looked at outsourcing the maintenance and custodial staff, but ultimately decided to revisit that proposal next year after having secured a new contract with their respective unions.