Districts still struggle to meet oil and gas boom’s HR challenges

Still booming. That’s the current state of the Texas oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin in West Texas and the Eagle Ford Shale that runs across South Texas. As noted in HR Exchange in 2012, the boom has brought a host of challenges for school districts and for HR administrators looking to attract and retain employees.
The school districts most affected by the boom aren’t out of the woods. “It’s just an ongoing challenge, and I don’t think they’re ahead of it yet,” said John Thomas, the executive director of the Region 18 Education Service Center (ESC) in Midland. “[Districts are] doing everything they can, but I don’t think they’ve caught up to the boom.”
Districts have raised salaries and offered stipends and bonuses. But the average teacher salary in oil and gas regions is $49,467, compared to $83,049 in other industries. Teacher recruiting is especially problematic with a dwindling pool of applicants, and teaching and support positions go unfilled for extended periods. The staffing challenges are partly the result of the pay disparity, but also due to the rapidly increasing cost of living fueled by high housing costs.
None of that is good news for the affected districts, but they are persevering, using every tool available to them to make sure the buses run on time and students continue to get an education.

Understanding the impact

Thomas conducted a survey of superintendents in Region 18 prior to the 2013‒14 school year to 
assess the impact of the oil and gas industry on school districts:
  • Seventy-two percent reported a teacher shortage
  • Sixty-seven percent reported unfilled teaching positions during the school year
  • Ninety-four percent reported a local housing shortage
  • Seventy-two percent reported teacher attrition due to high housing costs
  • Ninety-four percent reported being unable to hire teachers or other employees due to high housing costs
Thomas doesn’t think those issues have lessened since the beginning of the oil boom because of the student growth districts in his region have experienced. “Schools have had to hire additional staff. It’s just an ongoing challenge,” Thomas said.
Texas school finance laws have further complicated matters for oil and gas producing districts. They typically have more students, need more teachers, and often have to add facilities. What they don’t have is a cash windfall.

Rolling in dough?

Karnes City produces more crude oil than any other city in the state, so residents might think the district is flush with cash. That’s a common misunderstanding that districts have had to take pains to correct in their communities. “A lot of revenue is coming in, but we’re very different from the county and the city because of the structure of the school finance system,” said Karnes City ISD Superintendent Jeanette Winn.
Karnes City ISD is located in ESC Region 3 (Victoria) and has always been a property poor district. But thanks to the boom, property values have gone from $219 million in 2009 to an eye-popping $6.5 billion in 2014. The district doesn’t keep much of the new revenue because it’s now a Chapter 41 district, subject to the state’s recapture rules.
The district sent $26 million in property tax revenue back to the state this year and estimates that it will have to send $50 million back next year, huge amounts when you consider the district’s $10 million operating budget. Recapture effectively brings the district back down to its property poor status, which doesn’t leave much to pay for salary increases or district-subsidized housing options for employees.

Housing headaches

The lack of affordable housing has been a huge issue—maybe the largest challenge—for districts in Texas’ oil and gas regions. In many cases, districts and communities have stepped in to help employees find affordable options.
Cotulla ISD is in ESC Region 20 (San Antonio). It has approached the housing problem in a variety of ways. The district opened an RV park on district land and rented spots to employees who park there. When rising rents forced some staff members out of a local mobile home park, the district opened one that accommodates 10 to 12 staff members that have a mobile home. In addition to renting a spot, employees pay for their own utilities.
Recently, the district purchased an existing, 28-unit apartment complex that it plans to refurbish and rent to employees. The demand for housing is so high that five of the units are already occupied by district employees. “We realize that some of our employees are living here under circumstances that are difficult,” said Cotulla ISD Superintendent Jack Seals, noting that the housing shortage has forced many to live with family or commute long distances.
The housing shortage in Midland is much the same. The problem was so bad at the start of the boom that prospective teachers often returned their newly signed contracts to the district because they couldn’t find affordable housing.
Two foundations stepped in to help the district keep employees by offering assistance with living expenses. In 2013, the Scharbauer Foundation, a community nonprofit dedicated to the development and improvement of Midland, donated $3.6 million to the Midland ISD Education Foundation to be used to provide rental assistance for up to 300 teachers in 2013-14 and 250 teachers this school year.
Later that year, the Henry Foundation gave $1 million to the Midland ISD Education Foundation to help with rental and living expenses for support staff, especially custodians, bus drivers, and food service workers.
Winn said that the lack of affordable housing in Karnes City is definitely an issue but the district hasn’t been able to address it other than by offering pay increases. “We can’t afford to buy anything around here,” Winn said. Some property owners have been generous enough to offer reduced rental rates for teachers.

Higher salaries still fall short

Districts have increased pay but can’t keep up with their oil and gas industry neighbors.
Cotulla ISD has consistently struggled to attract and retain support staff, especially maintenance people, custodians, food service workers, and bus drivers. The district chose not to change base pay for those jobs but to offer employees a $2 per hour stipend to try and combat constant attrition. “We didn’t want to change the existing pay scales because every boom is followed by a bust,” Seals said.
The attrition is not confined to auxiliary employees. Some Karnes City ISD teachers have left to take higher-paying oil field jobs. Others were fortunate enough to own land and have earned enough from oil royalties to feel comfortable retiring. And they aren’t easy to replace. Karnes City ISD saw 40 percent fewer teacher applicants this year than last.
Community help has been critical in Midland ISD’s efforts to make salaries as competitive as possible. The district has raised salaries for all positions but was able to do something unique for its teachers with community help. Three community foundations (the Scharbauer Foundation, the Abell-Hanger Foundation, and the Henry Foundation) plus five oil and gas producers (Concho Resources, Pioneer Natural Resources, Apache, Chevron, and Warren-Cat) came together and donated $6.25 million to the district for teacher bonuses on top of district salary increases.
The district was able to provide 325 new teachers with $10,000 signing bonuses divided over a three-year period. It also gave the 1,200 teachers that it wanted to retain $2,500 re-signing bonuses. “This community has really stepped up…there’s a lot of pride in our schools,” said Midland ISD Superintendent Ryder Warren.

Staffing struggles

Being fully staffed is a thing of the past for most of the districts contacted.
Since 2010, Midland ISD has added nearly 5,000 new students, increasing the need for teachers and support personnel. Like Karnes City ISD, Midland ISD is now a Chapter 41 district and sent $33 million back to the state this year. “Equity is a very big issue for us. We feel we have a lot of issues that other districts don’t have,” Warren said. “Right now we have 200 vacancies for support staff, so to say we have a skeleton crew supporting the district is putting it mildly. We could use that money for staffing.”
Midland ISD’s attrition rate was at 25 percent when Warren arrived four years ago. It’s down to 21 percent now. Warren attributes that to the community support the district has received. “I would not want to think what we would look like without it,” Warren said. “We are still struggling.”
Karnes City ISD has trouble filling both auxiliary and teaching positions. “We tend to blame the teacher shortage on the Eagle Ford Shale, but we’ve also talked about the budget cuts the state put upon school districts several years ago,” Winn said. “All the layoffs probably affected the number of people going into teaching. That has exacerbated the situation we were already in.”
Smaller districts often don’t have dedicated HR staff, but the challenges recruiting, hiring, and
retaining employees has changed that. Prior to 2013, Forsan ISD Superintendent Randy Johnson was one of two administrators of the 708-student district. Mounting requirements and difficulty finding staff led to the hiring of Hanna Carter, who oversees personnel and has curriculum and instruction duties.
Forsan ISD (ESC Region 18) used to be flooded with applicants for any elementary position that came open, but no more, hence the need for an HR administrator. “The recruitment of teachers has become a more detailed, lengthy, and time-consuming process,” Johnson said.
“The shortage of teachers and manual trades staff dramatically reduced our applicants and forced us to leave positions open for an extended period,” Johnson said. The district is now fully staffed after filling a custodial position that had been open for more than a year.

Bracing for the bust?

Gas prices have dropped precipitously in recent months, leading oil and gas producers to cut staff and making for some nervous moments for district leaders.
Seals believes the additional teacher housing Cotulla ISD is building will be needed, boom or bust. “With every decision, there are plusses and minuses short- and long-term,” Seals said. “You just have to take action with the data that you have. We can speculate that it’s going to be tough, but at the same time, we still have teacher vacancies that we’ve been unable to fill all year.”
Winn confessed that she cringes a little each time the price goes down. “We’re all excited as consumers to see the prices fall, but we have some construction projects supported by bonds that were made possible by our higher property values,” Winn said.
The district was able to pass a $45 million bond to build a new elementary, a new high school, and add junior high classrooms. “We do believe there’s still a need even if the industry slows. Our enrollment won’t take a drastic downturn because it didn’t take a drastic upturn,” Winn said.
A lengthy downturn combined with Chapter 41 rules could result in Karnes City ISD paying more to the state than it has coming in. Winn is confident the district has enough in reserve to survive a deficit budget. “What I’m hearing from most of the oil company representatives is that they really expect any slowdown to be temporary. Eventually, prices will go back up and drilling will resume,” Winn said.
The boom spurred Midland ISD to reinvest in its schools, something that’s been lacking for the last couple of decades. The district passed a bond resolution to build three new elementary schools and improve the 23 it has. It’s also working on a bond issue to prepare its secondary schools for growth.
A bust cycle would bring more challenges, but Warren sees the new building the district is doing as an investment that will pay off long term, regardless of the district’s oil and gas fortunes. “We don’t lose a lot of kids during the bust cycles. The population might flat-line for a while, but we’ve always continued to grow,” Warren said.
“I think everything districts have done to gear up will probably put them in better shape over the next few years,” Thomas said. “They still need to hire teachers. With housing, it might be six to 18 months before districts feel like they’ve caught up.”
Thomas praised districts in his region for their efforts to secure the best staff and face housing shortages amidst the boom. He believes any slowdown will be temporary. “The slowdown may help them catch their breath, but they’ll move forward knowing it’s going to pick up again sooner or later,” Thomas said.


New Extra-Duty Stipend Survey results available

Texas school districts use a variety of methods to pay for extra-duty assignments, according to the latest TASB Extra-Duty Stipend Survey. This survey includes more than 70 extra-duty assignments, covering benchmark athletics, academic, and performing arts stipends in Texas schools.
Similar to last year, about 70 percent of respondents indicated that they pay a stipend plus extra days. Districts that do pay extra days typically pay at the employee’s daily rate; other districts pay a standard rate determined by the district, or a combination of both methods.
In regard to how districts assign and pay athletic stipends, most (83 percent) pay a separate stipend for each sport coached, unchanged from last year. Other districts (17 percent) pay a single stipend to compensate for all coaching assignments. (For the purposes of our survey, districts that pay a combined stipend were asked to divide the amounts in order to identify payment amounts by sport.)
Thirty-four percent of respondents (153 districts) reported paying a stipend to their head football coaches. Across the state, high school head football coaches in Texas receive a median stipend of $7,000 in extra-duty pay, an increase of $175 from last year. Stipends for head football coaches can vary significantly according to the size of the school. Head coaches in Class 1A schools receive $4,000, while Class 6A coaches are paid more than $15,000 in addition to a salary.
Approximately half of the districts (52 percent) also pay extra days to head football coaches in addition to an extra-duty stipend. Districts provide a median of 20 extra days. Total compensation for head football coaches, including total value of salaries, stipends, and value of extra days, can be found in our 2014–15 District Personnel Salary Survey in DataCentral.
For complete survey results on all the benchmark stipend assignments in our survey, HR Services members can access the 2014‒15 Extra-Duty Stipend Survey results in DataCentral.
In DataCentral, users can filter criteria by UIL classification, education service center (ESC), and select districts to create custom comparison reports for athletic, academic, and performing arts stipends for your district.
Because of the many unique organizational and personal variables that affect individual stipend payments, the data presented in the survey should be used only to identify general market trends and significant deviations from those trends for local planning purposes.
Survey data is based on 452 Texas school districts that participated in this year’s survey, representing 44 percent of districts statewide. Survey data is effective as of October 2014.

Thanks to all of our members for your participation in our salary surveys this year! Your participation provides more robust data for all districts. It’s never too early to encourage neighboring districts to participate in our upcoming 2015–16 surveys.


Steps to reduce the high costs of principal turnover

Each year, about one quarter (25,000) of the country’s principals leave their schools. Around 50 percent of new principals leave the profession during their third year in the role.
The new report Churn: The High Cost of Principal Turnover by the School Leaders Network details the consequences of principal attrition:

  • Student achievement will typically drop in math and English Language Arts in the year following a principal vacancy.
  • It can take up to three years for the school to regain its footing under the next principal.
  • Replacing principals is a costly proposition. Conservative estimates show the cost to develop, hire, and place each new principal to be $75,000. Increasing principal retention rates could save U.S. schools millions of dollars every year.
How important is it for schools to have purposeful principal retention efforts? Strong principals have the skills, strategies, practices, and beliefs to establish and maintain highly effective school settings where students can prosper. Student outcomes are improved by that stability: 25 percent of the total school influences on a child’s academic performance are attributed to school leadership.
Keeping leaders is also critical to school improvement efforts. Studies indicate that it may take as long as five years to implement a plan to improve student performance.
According to a 2012 MetLife survey, 84 percent of principals report high stress two or more days per week related to the challenges of the job: long hours, limited authority to make important decisions, and intense pressure to raise achievement. As a result, nearly one third of the principals 500 surveyed was actively considering leaving the profession.
Four key obstacles cause principals to leave:
  1. Workload and extensive managerial tasks prevent more meaningful instructional leadership efforts.
  2. Costly personal tolls, including long hours and work conditions that sometimes challenge their physical and psychological well-being.
  3. Local and state policies that tie principals’ hands in making critical decisions such as hiring, firing, and funding allocation flexibility.
  4. Profound isolation on the job.
So, how do we slow this rapid departure from the profession?
Invest in ongoing professional development for principals. Principals need access to support and training far beyond the first two years on the job to help them manage its expectations and requirements. For their own sake, principals must develop the leadership skills of others so they can distribute leadership tasks on the campus.
Provide opportunities for principals to engage in meaningful networking opportunities. The School Leaders Network, an organization that employs a tightly organized network model with groups of 15 principals meeting monthly throughout the year, has found increased satisfaction and retention among participating principals. In 2014, 98 percent reported that the network met their professional development needs. It’s also helping principals get results. Principals participating in the network met or exceeded the school improvement goals they set.
Expand one-to-one support for principals. Coaching and individual support has historically only been offered to new principals. However, extending coaching beyond the first year is likely to reduce principal isolation and build leadership competencies, two underlying causes of early departure from the profession.
Restructure central office roles and policies. Districts need to develop a more supportive structure that enables principals to learn and grow. The role of the principal supervisor must be redesigned to include leading, one-to-one coaching, and principal peer networks.
Improving an organization is a long and arduous process that requires continued and sustained efforts by highly effective leaders. To achieve this goal, we must invest in strong principal preparation programs and ongoing principal professional development, one-on-one coaching, and networking. That support will help to ensure that districts can create a highly effective learning environment for all students.

HR Services’ contract practices survey reveals common practices

In late 2014, HR Services administered three separate surveys regarding Texas school district employment contracts: superintendent contracts, teacher contracts, and administrator and professional support contracts.

Superintendent contracts

According to the survey, the typical length of a Texas superintendent’s contract term is three years (66 percent). Nearly all districts (96 percent) reported that the board of trustees takes action to extend the superintendent’s contract each year if performance is satisfactory. January is the month when most districts (71 percent) look to extend the superintendent’s contract.

In regard to superintendent performance evaluations and pay increases, rarely are annual increases to base salary guaranteed. Less than 15 percent of respondents answered, “Yes, the superintendent’s contract guarantees an annual increase.” Of those districts that do guarantee some type of increase, nearly half (48 percent) indicated that the amount of the pay raise is determined by the board of trustees.

Teacher contracts

Seventy-four percent of responding districts provide probationary contracts for three years for newly hired teachers with less than five years of experience. For experienced teachers new to the district with five or more years of experience (in the previous eight years), most respondents (94 percent) offer a one-year probationary contract.
We also surveyed for contract practices of common extracurricular assignments. Employment contracts for this group appear to be split among districts. For head football coach, 40 percent of districts give a dual-assignment teacher/coach contract, while 39 percent provide an administrator contract. For high school band director, 45 percent of districts offer a teacher contract with no contract for band duties, while 42 percent give a dual assignment teacher/band director contract.

Administrator and professional support contracts 

Seventy-two percent of responding districts use probationary contracts for new campus administrators. The standard length of term contracts for campus principals is two years in more than half of districts (62 percent). For assistant principals, a one-year term contract is most common among respondents (64 percent).
In addition, the survey covered employment contracts for noncertified administrators and professionals. Contracts for professional support positions that do not require State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) certification are most commonly either noncertified contracts (non-Chapter 21 contracts)—39 percent of districts; or Chapter 21 contracts—38 percent of districts.
District administrators in positions that do not require SBEC certification are given a noncertified contract (non-Chapter 21 contract) in 42 percent of districts, while 31 percent of districts reported offering no contract.
To get this data, HR Services surveyed 943 TASB HR Services public school member districts from November through December 2014. Our response rate varied by survey: superintendent contracts, 34.4 percent (324 districts); teacher contract practices, 32.4 percent (306 districts); and administrator and professional support contract practices, 30.9 percent (292 districts).
HR Services member districts can participate and view the full results by visiting HR Surveys in DataCentral.

Common contract myths

Myth 1: The exact amount of salary must be specified in the contract.

While this is true in the private sector, this is not true for educator contracts. In school districts, compensation for the upcoming year cannot be determined until the budget is adopted, which typically occurs after the first duty day of the next school year and after employees have signed and returned their contracts. Accordingly, most boards leave the exact amount of the salary unspecified in educator contracts, a practice that has been upheld by the commissioner. Contracts simply state that employees will be paid according to the compensation plan adopted by the board.
This practice results in employees agreeing to the salary terms in advance of knowing the particulars. After the budget is adopted, districts issue employee pay notices that provide specific salary information for the upcoming year. A Sample Compensation Letter to Employees is on file in the HR Library.
If the district determines that there will be a reduction in pay, notice must be provided to employees before their penalty-free resignation deadline (i.e., 45 days before the first day of instruction for the next school year). If the terms of compensation are unacceptable to the employee, he or she may resign without penalty. If a district fails to provide notice by this deadline, the district is committed to pay no less than the employee was paid in the prior school year. 

Myth 2: Statute specifies the amount of time an employee has to sign and return the contract.

This is true, but only in very limited circumstances that rarely occur. First, a probationary employee who is offered a continuing contract has 30 days to accept the contract. Second, a superintendent must provide a term or continuing contract employee at least three business days to consider an offer to return to probationary contract status.
The much more common situation is that the district is extending a contract for an employee who will have the same contract status in the following year (probationary-to-probationary or term-to-term), or will move from probationary to term status. Because statute does not set forth a deadline for contract return for employees in these situations, most districts will specify a deadline in the contract itself. That brings us to our last myth.

Myth 3: If a teacher doesn’t sign and return his or her contract by the specified date, the district may withdraw the offer of employment.

This is true. TASB’s model contracts include the provision “Expiration of Offer,” which specifies the date the contract must be returned and notifies the employee of the consequences for failure to return a signed contract. If the employee does not sign and return the contract within the time period specified, the offer is automatically withdrawn. Moreover, the employee’s failure to sign and return the contract by the date specified is treated as a resignation from employment at the end of the employee’s existing contract term.

Q&A: Paying noncontract employees during emergency closures

Q: Can a district pay noncontract employees when it is closed for an emergency?
A: Yes, the district may pay noncontract employees when schools are closed as a result of bad weather or other disasters. However, the requirements are different for nonexempt and exempt employees.
Nonexempt employees: Although it is not required to do so, the district may choose to pay nonexempt employees as long as it is has adopted a policy in advance of the closure or the district takes steps to establish that paying them serves a public purpose and ensures that the district receives a return benefit.
If the district does not have a policy in place that provides for payment, it may adopt a resolution or take similar action that addresses all of the following:

  • The public purpose served by continuing wage payments (e.g., increased morale and reduced employee turnover)
  • Which employees will be paid
  • Whether the employees who were required to work will receive premium payments
  • The duration of the pay
Policy Update 102, scheduled to be sent to districts in May, will include revisions to DEA (LOCAL) that provide for payments during closures.
Exempt employees: If exempt employees work any part of a workweek, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that they be paid their full salary for that entire workweek. If the district is closed for the whole workweek and the employee performs no work, the FLSA does not require that the employee be paid.
TASB Legal Services eSource offers more detailed information on this topic in Personnel Issues During School Closings.

HR Extras

DOE rejects Texas’ teacher and principal evaluations

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) recently notified Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams that its new teacher and principal evaluations and support systems don’t yet meet Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver requirements.
The DOE is asking for more information based the concerns raised by expert peers who reviewed the systems, for example:
  • How Texas will ensure that student growth measures are “a meaningful part” of evaluations and an explanation of the state’s student growth measure.
  • How the evaluation system will provide educators with clear, timely, and useful feedback that guides professional development.
  • An explanation of state’s requirements to incorporate student growth measures in nontested grades and subjects.
  • How the state plans to ensure that educators are evaluated on a regular basis.
  • How evaluation results and feedback from the process will inform personnel decisions.
  • How the state will ensure that all districts use educator evaluation systems that meet ESEA waiver guidelines.
Williams has told federal officials that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will not exceed its current authority or issue state mandates to local schools and that the state is committed to local control in public education.
Williams will seek input from state leaders and education stakeholders to determine a course of action on the state’s waiver. The new evaluation systems are set to launch in 2016‒17.

A teacher’s salary path is more important than starting or maximum salary

The new National Center for Teacher Quality (NCTQ) report Smart Money compares teacher salaries at large districts nationwide over time. Nine Texas districts were represented in the study of 113 districts, which include the 50 largest in the U.S. and the largest in each state.
After adjusting for the cost of living in participating districts, the average maximum salary for a 30-year teacher was $71,000. For each district, the report provided details about the number of years of experience required for a teacher to get to a 2013‒14 salary of $71,000; and the impact that has on a teacher’s lifetime earnings.
A high starting salary often masks a slow path to the maximum. Do teachers reach the maximum just before they retire? Or do they reach it within 20 years and receive modest increases as the maximum moves upward?
Accelerating teachers to $71,000 salaries earlier in their careers is certainly possible. Twenty-two districts had teachers reach that salary by their 15th year, and 18 of those had starting salaries below $45,000.
These different trajectories have tangible impacts on teachers’ lives, according to the report. Teachers wrestle with whether they can afford to buy a house or take a vacation or whether they need a second job or partner’s income to make ends meet. If they believe their pay is lagging, they might question whether they should consider a different career.
Of the Texas districts included, Northside ISD teachers fared best. They reached $71,000 in 26 years. In Dallas ISD, it was 27 years, Fort Worth ISD was 30, and for the other six Texas districts, it took more than 30 years to reach that milestone. The estimate of lifetime earnings for a teacher in Northside ISD was $360,000 more than in Austin ISD.
(Editor’s note: All dollar values in the report were adjusted for cost of living.)  

Updated Student Performance Domain Worksheet available

The Commissioner of Education has updated the Student Performance Domain Worksheet that boards use as part of their superintendent appraisal process.

By reviewing the data on the completed form, boards can see which areas of student performance are improving and declining and use that information to focus their discussions with their superintendent.

Inside HR Services

Extra-Duty Stipend, superintendent total compensation data available in DataCentral

New 2014–15 Extra Duty Stipend data is now available in DataCentral for all HR Services member districts. You can use your district’s stipend data to create custom market reports on more than 70 athletic, academic, and performing arts stipends. 
Looking for the latest superintendent compensation data? Remember to visit DataCentral to get the most current data on total compensation, including common allowances and benefits in Texas public schools. 

2014–15 Teacher compensation highlights report available on the HR Services Website

Our annual highlights report from the teacher salary survey is ready to download. In it you’ll find the most up-to-date statewide average teacher salaries, pay increases, teacher substitute rates, and teacher shortage stipends and incentives data. For more detailed salary data for your market, look no further than DataCentral, where you can drill down and compare your district’s data to the districts that matter to you most. 

HR Survey on sick leave banks and pools coming soon

Be sure to participate in our upcoming HR survey covering such areas as leave donation arrangements, eligibility, and limits. Your district must participate to get the results. Invitations to the survey will be sent to our program contacts on Feb. 12. The online survey can also be completed by visiting DataCentral and going to the HR Surveys page. 

HR Services’ customer survey results are in

HR Services would like to thank the 500 districts that responded to our customer survey in December. We heard loud and clear that our districts want more news on benefits and compensation, more training on legal issues, and more benchmark data on district staffing. We also heard that many of you want more information (of all sorts!) regarding substitutes. We’re glad to hear how we’re doing and how we can improve to better serve our members.