Every month the Linglestown Gazette has allotted me space to provide updates on educational issues. The Central Dauphin School Board has recently reviewed two initiatives that I would like to share with you.
Source 4 Teachers
Substitute coverage for our teachers has become more difficult, and currently the Central Dauphin School District is only able to fill 72 percent of vacancies.
Problems with substitute coverage have largely been driven by two external factors:
The Affordable Care Act legislation prescribes that any entity with 50 full-time employees who work more than 30 hours must provide health insurance. This mandate has been temporally postponed, but is likely to be implemented in the near future.
Also, a ruling by the Public School Employees Retirement System now prohibits retired teachers who are collecting pensions from working for the district.
The Board voted in December 2013 to approve a 2.5 year contract with Source 4 Teachers. The company has a 98 percent “fill rate” record. The district will be able to utilize retired teachers, recruit new teachers and save up to $35,000 annually.
The contract with Source 4 Teachers includes two one-year renewal options when the initial contract period ends on June 23, 2016. The cost to the district will be $127.30 per teacher, per day, for substitutes who work one to 70 days; and $137.00 per day for more than 70 days. There will be no additional costs and the substitute teachers will be paid the same as they are paid now.
In response to a community survey, the district found that 85 percent of the participants in the survey thought students should be taught how to manage finances. Among those who responded were 1,030 community members and 1,433 parents of Central Dauphin students.
The Board reviewed a proposal presented by Central Dauphin Curriculum Director Shirley Hunter earlier this month. The Financial Literacy curriculum “is designed to teach students how to become financially literate adults. The course includes topics
that prepare students for financial decision making, goal setting, saving, budgeting, borrowing, spending wisely and managing credit.”
The cost to implement the program is $4,300 and it was approved Monday evening.
In a related matter, a recent study by the Institute for College Access & Success found that Pennsylvania college students graduate with the third highest debt level in the nation.
Students graduating for Pennsylvania public and nonprofit colleges are carrying an average debt of $31,675 compared to the national average which is $29,4000.
On average, seven out of ten graduating college students had student loan debt in 2012. The total amount owed in outstanding college loans is $1.2 trillion.