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What is vetting process like for hiring substitute teachers?

Posted at 8:05 PM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 23:08:45-04

The teacher shortage is having school districts turn to third party contractors to hire their teachers. But, what the vetting process like?

According to Educational Services Inc., they fully vet any potential workers in a rigorous process.

"By doing the fingerprint verification, teaching certificate, and working through a criminal background checking everyone, we're absolutely confident that our sub-source substitutes are fully vetted to be in a school district with students," says Tom Hancock, vice president of human resources for ESI.

Unfortunately, no system is fool proof, last week 28-year-old Brian Scritchfield was arrested, accused of touching two girls inappropriately at an elementary school in Buckeye. The school district confirmed they used a third party contractor to hire Scritchifeld. They used "Substitute Any Time." 

Hancock says they're rigorous in their hiring. They're constantly updated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety if one of their employees has their fingerprint verification suspended for any reason, making them ineligible to teach. Currently they have 2,500 teachers throughout 50 school districts Valley wide.

Out of the districts we were able to get on the phone, only Buckeye, Casa Grande, and Gilbert use third-party contractors, but there are more out there.

Deer Valley, Elfrida, Altar Valley, and Humboldt school districts say they don't use those services and each has their own system for hiring substitute teachers. Most told us they do their own hiring from a list of candidates.

According to the Arizona Department of Education and the Children's Action Alliance, there are many reasons why school districts turn to third-party contractors. The main reason is the teacher shortage crisis. Hancock says the shortage is also having an impact on their hiring of substitute teachers that they're constantly recruiting for new and qualified candidates. Other factors cited are proposition 206 and the fact that teachers simply aren't being paid enough.