Upper Arlington Schools officials want to streamline their substitute teacher processing system.

Upper Arlington Schools officials want to streamline their substitute teacher processing system.

School board members approved a contract with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio June 24 to implement an automated educational substitute ordering system called Aesop in the district.

According to the Aesop website, district teachers would be trained to use the online or phone system to report their absences.

Substitutes then could search the system for openings, and administrators would be able to choose which substitutes to call based on district preferences.

In addition to the substitute placement system, administrators also would have a better way of tracking teacher absences.

Instead of being considered district employees, the substitutes, under the new Aesop system, would be considered ESC employees. Regular substitutes were notified last week about the change and directed to contact the ESC.

The ESC serves Franklin, Delaware and Union counties with professional development, services for students with special needs and school leadership and management, among other things.

The contract with the ESC would cost about $6,000 per year plus a 4-percent administrative fee.

"All of our (substitutes) will now be employed by the ESC," district treasurer Andy Geistfeld said. "The idea there is it takes away a lot of the legal obligations of the district. They do the fingerprinting and the background checks."

He said another benefit of going to the automated system is that the ESC has a large pool of teachers, because many other central Ohio districts use the system.

Though there would be a larger pool of teachers to choose from, the district would be able to prioritize which substitutes would be chosen to teach in Upper Arlington.

"We have an option of saying there are substitutes that we may not want to use," Geistfeld said.

Board president Bob Arkin said Aesop would allow administrators to put "a gold star next to the preferred ones."

Arkin also said the system would save money for the district.

"This was an annual expense for us to coordinate the subs," Arkin said at the June 24 meeting.

Geistfeld said the small savings per employee would quickly add up.

"Because we are going through the ESC, we are saving about 25 cents per staff per month," he said. "That's a nice little savings."

He said the savings likely would not be realized until the second year of using the program because of the upfront cost for training the teachers and administrators.

The teachers will be trained on the system at the beginning of the next school year.

Steve Phillips, executive director of personnel, said staff members are excited about the new system.

"It's really positive," he said. "They saw the benefits, and everyone feels good about the process."

Geistfeld said there are many positives to going to Aesop.

"It's going to be a really cool process once we get through the change," he said. "It's really easy for our staff members point and click."