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DD2 Board Balks At Outsourcing Substitutes

Dorchester County, S.C. - With 3,682 employees, staff reported that as many as 150 substitute requests are received daily Monday to Thursday and 200+ on Friday, but the Board members still had more questions than could be answered about a staff proposal to outsource substitutes to an outside company.

No action was taken on a confidential recommendation to contract out. Six proposals were received in response to a January RFP.

Staff noted that they are filling sub requests at only 75% M-T and at 65% on Friday.

The contract would have paid the selected vendor the current substitute rate plus an undisclosed percentage that even Ms. Hughes said she had not seen.

She was also concerned about a vendor bringing in substitutes from their pool who were not familiar with DD2. Mr. Farnsworth raised questions about whether the vendor could actually meet an 85 to 95% fill rate on requests and wanted to see the statistics for the districts given as references.

Ms. Hughes and Mr. Farnsworth both noted DD2 had “gotten burned” in the past with outsourcing. Ms. Bates noted that a DD2 substitute was more likely to be loyal to the District. Ms. Wimberly elicited an agreement from staff that the fill rate had improved following last year’s pay bump for subs that raised certified to $150 per day and others to $125 per day. Ms. Powell wanted to mull it over and Mr. Guthrie said nothing.

Staff had envisioned a one year initial term with four one-Year options.

Turning to a 700-page salary study that was also briefed to the Board at its February Work Shop, Ms. Wimberly asked that the consultant preparing the report to come prestent it to the Board. There was no indication if this would be done behind closed doors or publicly.

There was almost no discussion of its contents, but staff wanted to use it to support pay raises in this budget cycle. Recall that last year Mr. Pye took an out-of-budget pay raise request to County Council with barely a hint of factual support which the Council then simply ignored.

The meeting ended following an executive session on pending litigation, but not without the Board approving a “settlement.” There was not even an indication which case this concerned much less any general discussion for the public to understand of what generally was being settled.

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