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Superintendent’s Corner: Aides and Tech Staff

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RuiWebpageDear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

Our goal is to provide parents with assurances that their children will be in great hands everyday. The best interest of our students is always our primary focus. All of our staff, including our aides and technical staff, are important members of our schools. Our aides are an invaluable resource to our community and our goal is to keep all of the aides who wish to continue to work in Verona.

In the past, the Board considered exploring the outsourcing of specific roles with a private vendor. The Board of Education has recently discussed the possibility of utilizing such a provider to employ our aides and technical staff in Verona. Such a decision has the potential to enable the district to provide equal or better services that our students need and deserve. In addition, it may provide alternate ways for us to better manage our staff, especially in the area of recruitment and hiring, where turnover is high.

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The district is committed to hiring qualified candidates that will provide continuity and consistency for our students in these positions. The district has faced challenges when dealing with high turnover rate in the area of instructional aides. Finding an appropriate candidate to meet our student’s needs is a process that takes several weeks once we advertise, interview, offer employment, obtain criminal background clearance, and receive Board approval. An outsource company is able to immediately provide a qualified candidate as quickly as within one day. The district would still maintain the ability to keep our current staff in Verona. In addition, we would also have final approval of all hires and retain the right to reject any candidate at any time.

As circumstances change, we continue to explore alternate ways to meet the evolving needs of our students and the strengths of our learning community. We are committed to ensuring our students are never without an appropriate aide or continuity of coverage that they deserve. The process of filling these positions, where turnover is high, consumes administrative leadership time that is better used to improve our special services we provide to our students.

The Board of Education has taken steps to clearly communicate our intentions to the appropriate staff that we are contemplating such a decision. The district notified the teacher’s association, aides, and technical staff over the past several days to communicate our intentions. In addition, we also notified the teacher’s association so they would have an opportunity to assist our aides in submitting a proposal.

The district is in the process of drafting a request for proposal (RFP) to solicit potential providers to submit a public bid as a service provider. We are in process of finalizing the RFP and submitting it to vendors and our current aides once the RFP has been completed. The Board’s aim was to introduce the topic to these members, and the parents once we have finalized the RFP. This format allows for an educated discussion on the needs of the district and questions that may need to be explored. We have also communicated that the proposal will include the provision that the vendor hire all of our existing qualified staff at their current pay rates and that those people will continue to work in Verona. We believe it is important to retain the people we have hired ourselves and keep the continuity for our students.

We have a responsibility to our community to engage in a review of our existing practices and ensure we are providing the best services to our students by taking fiscal responsibility and human resource management decisions into consideration. Any decisions that would be made would provide equivalent or better services for our students and a child’s program would not be negatively impacted.

It is important to note that the Department of Special Services has also been working with our aides over the past several months to ensure that any aide who continues to work in Verona is certified as established by federal requirements in the areas of reading, writing, and math. Our aides have been making considerable progress in this certification area to ensure our staff is able to meet the academic needs of our students.

Verona is a caring and close-knit community. We want the best for all of our students. We are confident that we will be able to continue to meet the needs of our community together. Please feel free to contact me or Mr. Mauriello should you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Rui Dionisio
Superintendent of Schools

Frank Mauriello
Director of Special Services

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