Nevada School administrators are once again asking for an automated system to help with finding substitute teachers.

Administrators pitched the AESOP system to the Nevada School Board last year, but board members did not approve its purchase.

Cost of the system is $3,850 a year, which is based on the number of staff utilizing it; and in the first year, training and set-up of the system is $3,500, plus travel and lodging expenses.

Elementary Assistant Principal Joel Fey is a big proponent of the system. Fey said the elementary school hired 82 substitutes in January, 91 in February and 43 in March (which wasn’t a full month due to spring break).

Fey said there are a couple local substitutes who choose to take jobs only in Nevada, but the bulk of substitute teachers are younger in age and are utilizing the AESOP system, which provides automated Web and phone-based substitute placement.

Teachers use AESOP to register their absences, which they can do at any time either by calling a toll-free number or logging on over the Web. Substitutes can use AESOP to search for available assignments at any time, either by calling a toll-free number or by logging on over the Web. AESOP notifies substitutes, based on district preference, that a position is available.

As written in the board packet, "school administrators believe the AESOP process will help them as they search for subs. It has been a struggle getting subs again this year. We are finding out a number of area districts are utilizing this service and subs are becoming less available because they are contacted sooner about positions open." Fey said Nevada competes heavily with Ames and Gilbert, as well as other surrounding districts, for subs.

Fey noted that elementary secretaries spend quite a bit of time trying to find substitutes, many times at the last minute, and that their time could be better spent doing something else. The elementary has more teachers, so therefore utilizes more subs and spends more time searching for them.

If substitute teachers (or associates) cannot be found, Fey and Principal Kathy Goecke said they start moving available people, including themselves, around in the building to fill the voids during the day.

The AESOP system, it was noted, would also make things easier for the school’s business office because it automatically ties to the payroll system and compiles all the necessary paperwork. And, the school district approves ahead of time which subs it will utilize through the system.

School board members still expressed some hesitation about the cost of the system.

They will consider its purchase with an action item at their next meeting.