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District 86 votes to eliminate permanent substitute positions

HINSDALE – The Hinsdale Township High School District 86 Board of Education voted, 4-3, Monday to eliminate six permanent substitute teachers effective at the end of the school year.

"It's never an easy thing to tell someone that their position is no longer going to be available," said Domenico Maniscalco, director of human resources.

Maniscalco said with the Affordable Care Act, as well as Senate Bill 7, all school districts are being forced to re-evaluate operational procedures.

"Right now, if we eliminated the six positions but still replaced them with a body next year so we have the coverage in the schools, we would still save a little over $200,000," he said.

Maniscalco said the recommendation wasn't made lightly and that he talked extensively with officials at Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South high schools.

School board member Jennifer Planson disagreed with the recommendation and said she felt there was value in having somebody always available if needed.

"My understanding, I was told, the history of having these permanent subs was that there were problems in getting substitutes available on an immediate basis," Planson said. "They had difficulty finding subs the day of and that's why they created these permanent subs so there would be somebody around in the building or in the district."

Planson said she also felt that students' learning would be impacted if permanent substitutes are not available next year.

"Eliminating these is not, in my opinion, the best interest for a student because I could be a substitute teacher, and I could go in and teach AP Physics, but I could know nothing about AP Physics, and you lose an instructional day," Planson said.

Previously, the district allowed Central and South an allocation of six permanent substitutes each fiscal year, split between both schools at a rate of $29.28 per hour. Additionally, the six subs are entitled to participate in the district's health and wellness benefits, according to a memo from Maniscalco.

According to the memo, these positions can be filled with "on-call" substitutes that are paid at the district rate of $95 per day when coverage is needed.

The total overall savings for the 2014-15 school year would be $202,204.98, according to the memo. Starting in the 2014-15 school year, subs can only work 119 days in each fiscal year.

The board approved the recommendation by a 4-3 vote.

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