Santa Rosa Teachers' Union criticizes use of private firm for substitutes

Accusations of molestation by a substitute teacher have the Santa Rosa Teachers' Union criticizing the district's use of private contractors.

Substitute Richard Mack was an employee of P.E.S.G. Educational Staffing Solutions. He's accused of molesting three girls at Gulf Breeze Elementary.

Last year, he was chosen as the school district's "Substitute Teacher of the Year."

On Tuesday night the board of Santa Rosa Professional Educators issued a position statement. They say there appears to be a decline in the quality of employees working in privatized positions.

Union President Rhonda Chavers said, "We were all stunned at this and felt like we needed to make people aware and make the district aware of our position on privatization versus public employees. How are you going to guarantee me that someone's really watching what's going on and vetting what's going on?"

The school district says the private contractor puts employees through the same state and federal background screenings the district uses. In addition to substitutes, most of the transportation, custodial and food service employees in the district are provided by private contractors.

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