The Franklin Special School District is trying a new way to help fill teacher absences during the 2019-20 school year.

During its Aug. 12 meeting, the FSSD board heard an update on the district's contract with StaffEZ, an education-focused staffing organization that works with school districts to fill teacher absences, according to FSSD Human Resources Director Leslie Duke.

"This morning at 6 a.m.—as I do every morning—I get an email that tells me exactly the sub positions that are filled and not filled in Franklin Special School District. This morning, we had one unfilled position. In the past, we would have crossed our fingers and hoped that a sub logged in and accepted the job or accepted the job from the robocall that the system automatically does," Duke said. "Instead, this morning, our account manager with StaffEZ was busy on the phone at 6 a.m., and by the time I arrived at 7, it had been filled. So for the first time [this year], we had 100% fill rate today."

Teachers still have to go through application processes and background checks, and StaffEZ is also helping the district to recruit new substitute teachers, she said.

FSSD Director of Schools David Snowden said in the past, the district has had to resort to doubling up classes or having administrators teach classes to fill teacher absences.

"We've learned in the past few years we just couldn't fill enough of the sub positions we needed," Snowden said. "So we knew something needed to change so it would not continue to interrupt. We're hopeful that this will be a resolution to that problem, but if it's not, we'll go back and either take a look at what we're doing and make some changes or look for some other solution."