Company's sudden closure leaves Metro Detroit school districts scrambling for substitute teachers

Company leaves up to 2,000 workers without jobs

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DEARBORN, Mich. – Up to 2,000 substitute teachers and school workers in Metro Detroit have a lot of questions after the company they worked for suddenly shut down.

The closure has left many school districts scrambling to find subs for classrooms. As of now, seven districts are known to have been affected: Clintondale, Dearborn, Harper Woods, Hazel Park, Melvindale, Redford Union and Warren Woods.

District officials said they were left to find substitute teachers with no notice.

"I got the email yesterday around 4:30," substitute teacher Jerry Ankofski said.

Many of the substitute teachers and staff members working for PESG found out in a lengthy email that the company is shutting down in Michigan. It leaves 1,500 to 2,000 people without jobs and affects hundreds of districts.

District leaders from Dearborn Public Schools scrambled to get organized after the announcement, telling all the substitute teachers to arrive at 7 a.m. and apply for temporary contract jobs.

"This all caught me by surprise," Ankofski said.

On average, Dearborn schools need between 50 and 80 substitute teachers every day. The short-term plan is temporary contracts, and the long-term plan is to find a new staffing company.

"We will then contact all these subs (and let them know) what company we're going with," said Dave Mustonen of Dearborn Public Schools.

In the letter to workers, PESG said a sale to a competitor was in the works.

"The urgency of the shutdown was exacerbated, however, when those negotiations broke down over the weekend due to unforeseen developments outside of our control," the letter says. "Without operating funds to stay open, therefore, the company is now forced to close immediately."

Company officials said some of the substitute teachers could be eligible for unemployment benefits, depending on how many hours they worked.

It will take the school districts weeks to come up with long-term plans because the contracts usually have to go through a bidding process.

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