Dearborn school sub problem causes minor issues

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Dearborn Public Schools said the company that provides it with substitute teachers has shut down.

A shortage of substitute teachers caused only minor disruptions Tuesday in Dearborn Public Schools, district officials said.

On Monday, the company that normally provides the school system with substitutes "unexpectedly and suddenly closed down" leaving the district without any substitute teachers, the district said in a letter to parents posted on its website.

"We've got all of our subs out at our buildings," said David Mustonen, a spokesman for the school system. "There may have been a few delays, but overall, things have worked out very well. We got staff out to cover the classrooms." 

Mustonen said the district first heard about the company shutting down Monday afternoon. He said the name of the company is PESG Educational Staffing Solutions.  The district has used the company for the last 10 years or so, he added.

PESG provides staffing services to nearly 5,000 schools across the country and has more than 40,000 employees, according to its website. In Michigan, it has offices in Caledonia and Burton.

PESG officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Dearborn Schools informed parents Monday. In its letter on its website, the district said the "closure came as a surprise to all of the school districts who use this service and to the many people who are currently employed for this company." 

Meanwhile, the district's administration worked with school principals to put together an emergency plan and substitutes were available Tuesday, officials said. 

Mustonen said the district Tuesday morning was able to deploy about 200 substitute teachers throughout its schools. The teachers are PESG employees who the district routinely used, he said. 

"All of them are our regular subs," he said. "We just contacted them directly and we signed them to temporary employment contracts. It's sort of how we used to use subs when they were all internal."

The district asks parents to be patient and understand the district is using all of its resources to make sure all classes are covered in its schools.

"Our staff has pulled together at a very critical time to manage this situation and we appreciate your support during this extraordinary event," officials said.

Dearborn Public Schools has 32 schools in its district, encompassing 19 elementary schools, seven middle schools and six high schools. It has 20,800 students, about 1,300 instructional staff members and about 1,300 non-instructional staff members.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez