I’m sure I’m not the only one that has become excited over a potential field trip, only to be told by a teacher that it has been denied. Contrary to what students are beginning to believe, the school does not hate field trip; in fact, each individual school has lost some control of that department. The implication of Kelly Services, the program that funds substitute teachers and monitors their placement, has taken over many schools across multiple counties.
The program had its start in Hillsborough in the fall at the beginning of this school year. According to Assistant Principal of Curriculum Mark Watson, this system was taken from other school districts in south Florida and put in place here, mainly because of it’s 98% fill rate in terms of position.
“With the old procedure, there was always a number of jobs that were left unfilled,” said Watson. “The new system with Kelly services has a higher fill rate and they do a better job of getting people in those positions so that we don’t have classes with no substitutes on days teachers are out.”
Although the cost of Kelly Services is more expensive for the old system, they make sure to place and pay all substitute teachers based on their degrees. According to an an article written by News Channel 8, if the district pays a sub $8 per hour, they now pay Kelly Services about an $11 an hour (this amount includes the salary and Kelly’s fee for each sub). The district believes that they will ultimately save money, despite the increase in substitute pay; this is because they will no longer have to pay individual district employees to handle sub placement.
Teachers may miss school for a number of reasons, be it for a sick day, personal day, district workshop, or of course, for a field trip. According to Watson, paper work dependent on the type of trip (in-county, out-of-county, or overnight) has its own rules and procedures that the teacher has to got through to get the trip approved. If the trip is in-county, then the approval process will stay within the school site. However, if the trip is out-of-county or overnight, papers must be submitted significantly early to the district for approval.
The main reason many field trips are becoming more difficult to approve revolves around the trip destination and reason for the trip. For example, a trip like Physics Day to Busch Gardens will be more easily approved because it’s a county wide trip for a core class. On the other hand, one of newspaper’s mini trips to Busch Gardens for Student Journalism Day was denied because there would only be two students going and not every school in the county would be attending; therefore, it was viewed as a “specialty trip”.
My take on this whole situation is that all field trips should be viewed with an equal eye by the district. Regardless if it’s one student or 300, to a few schools or a few counties, it’s not right of the district to start denying field trips to students purely based on the fact that they “won’t pay for a sub”. I understand that subs, need to have priority placement in classes with a sick or absent teacher, but if the paper work required for a trip is submitted several weeks before hand, I see no reason the district would have trouble planning ahead to fill that teacher’s spot for the one day.
Emily Goldbach / Editor-in-Chief