Substitute teachers frustrated by new call system

Substitute teachers frustrated by new call system

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)

Kim Osborn Mullen is a substitute teacher, a pinch hitter in kindergarten through sixth-grade classrooms.

"It's flexible and the pay is good," she said.

Her assignments came through the Department of Education's automated call system called the Teacher-Substitute Employee Automated System. On September 3, Mullen and other substitutes got a letter from the DOE about an upgrade to the system that included simple instructions.

"Call the number, input your employee ID and then your pin number and you should be good to go. And it was not good," she said.

Turns out the system that went live Sunday night has locked her out.

"You get to a certain point and then it will say, 'Your pin number is invalid.' And then it will hang up," she said.

The DOE said there was a problem with the data conversion.

"That caused some log-in hiccups. In fact it caused some major hiccups that prevented our substitute teachers from logging in," DOE spokesperson Donalyn Dela Cruz said.

Mullen also tried to access the employee system through a web site.

"It would not accept my pin number," she said.

Dela Cruz said there were no reports of schools that needed substitutes having trouble filling the need. Many schools have lists of substitutes that they can call directly. She said the department added manpower to fix the malfunction. She understands the frustration substitute teachers are feeling.

"That is lost time that can't be made up on their part, and we just want to apologize for that," she said.

Since Sunday evening Mullen hasn't had any automated calls for substitute work. She used to average two to three a week.

"We don't totally depend on sub income. So we're lucky that way. But it's a factor not to have that extra money," she said.

We watched Mullen try repeatedly to access the substitute teacher's system and be turned away by an automated voice that said, 'Invalid. Good bye.'

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