New Law Lets Schools Turn To Temp Agencies For Subs

Dec 17, 2018

At a recent conference, Jen Carosielli (left) promoted Kelly Services' program to supply substitute teachers.
Credit Courtesy of Kelly Services

One of the new laws that goes into effect next year will allow school districts to use third-party recruiting firms to address Illinois' severe teacher shortage. So if you live in a school district that struggles to find subs, you may find your child being taught by a Kelly Girl.

That's the company's original name. It changed to Kelly Services in the 1970s. Kelly has been helping staff schools in other states for about 20 years. Now, it's eager to add Illinois to its portfolio.

Jen Carosielli is in charge of strategic sales.

"We've had initial meetings with districts that have asked us to do a variety of different assistance in recruiting. So we are in the vetting process with several different school districts across the state to see if this is a good partnership for them," she says.

Schools can also use recruiting firms to find custodians, cafeteria workers or even nurses if they have exhausted all other methods.

The state's two major teachers unions were divided on the legislation. The Illinois Federation of Teachers, which includes Chicago Teachers Union, opposed the bill out of concern that it would begin a slippery slope to larger privatization. But the Illinois Education Agency supported the bill, hoping it would relieve their members of having to give up planning periods and lunch times to fill in for missing teachers.

Carosielli says her firm has a policy against interfering with bargaining units.

"We would not cross any strike lines. And actually, as a Kelly policy, that's not something that we would participate in,” she says. “And across the country, any school districts that do have their substitutes as part of a bargaining unit, or labor union, we cannot partner with and don't partner with."

Districts would have to pay temp workers the same as traditional subs, plus cover the recruiting firm's costs. Subs supplied by recruiting firms would have to meet all state guidelines, but would not be eligible for state pensions.