Frequently Asked Questions


Please check back here often as new FAQs will be added as we progress through the transition process.

General Questions

+Who is acquiring SmartSchoolsPlus?

Educational Services, Inc. (ESI) has begun the process of acquiring SmartSchoolsPlus. ESI has a 20-year history of providing phased retirement/return-to-work and substitute services. Started by three educators in 1999, we currently serve more than 160 Arizona school districts, cities, and counties, and we have unparalleled experience in designing staffing programs that provide a 'win-win' solution for our employees and clients.

+How does an acquisition work?

This type of acquisition is a major undertaking that involves months of planning and preparation by ESI and SmartSchoolsPlus before the actual transition becomes effective. A purchase agreement has been signed by both parties which means that ESI has the intent to purchase SmartSchoolsPlus, but it's not official yet until the acquisition closes. During the next few months (what is referred to as the "transition period"), there is a lot of work happening behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition for employees and clients. When both parties feel that everything is in order to fully transition the reigns to ESI, the acquisition will "close" and become effective. Because the transition period has many variables, we can't say for certain the exact effective date just yet, but as we get closer, we'll keep you posted.

+Why is ESI acquiring SmartSchoolsPlus?

Bill and Sandee McClelland, owners of SmartSchoolsPlus, have decided to sell the business after operating it for 17 years and serving the education community for 40 years. ESI is a natural partner for this acquisition as we will be able to continue the great work already in place with SmartSchoolsPlus clients and employees, and will be able to extend services to more districts, cities, counties, and state entities through the acquisition.

+What is the timeline for the acquisition?

We are currently in the transition period. There are several things that need to happen before the acquisition closes, and your participation is key. Please check your email and Paycom Portal for items that need your attention. The targeted transition date is February 2020, but this date can change. We'll keep you posted as we get closer and have a better idea of the exact closing date.

+Are all employees working for SmartSchoolsPlus or SmartWorksPlus affected by this change?

Yes, the acquisition affects all SmartSchoolsPlus and SmartWorksPlus employees. All SmartSchoolsPlus and SmartWorksPlus employees who wish to continue to work in their same positions once the acquisition closes will do so as ESI employees (pending completion of ESI's transition requirements).

+What is the targeted transition date? When does the acquisition become effective?

The targeted acquisition close is sometime in February 2020, but is subject to change. As updates become available, we will share them with you.

+Where is ESI located?

ESI is located in North Scottsdale - 14614 N Kierland Blvd. Suite N230, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

+Will I still have access to my SmartSchoolsPlus Paycom Portal?

Yes, you will continue to have access to your SmartSchoolsPlus Paycom Portal throughout the transition period. In fact, your Paycom Portal will be used to communicate with you during this transition period, so it's important that you check back often for any updates and pending tasks.

+Will I have to go through the hiring/onboarding process all over again?

With your permission, ESI will be able to obtain the majority of your employment information from SmartSchoolsPlus to expedite the transition. We will need you to complete a few easy tasks outlined in the section "What you need to do now" to make your employment with ESI official. However, if you do not follow ESI's steps to expedite the process, you will be required to complete a comprehensive onboarding process through ESI. ESI will communicate any updates to you as they become available.

+Is there an interview process required to join ESI?

No, as an existing SmartSchoolsPlus employee, you have already been approved by SmartSchoolsPlus so there is no interview required.

+Will I have to pay ESI a fee?

No, ESI will not charge you a fee. Just like SmartSchoolsPlus, our district partners/clients pay us a fee to access our leasing programs.

+What is RetireRehire?

RetireRehire is ESI's name for our return-to-work or phased retirement program.

+What is SubSource?

SubSource is ESI's name for our substitute staffing program.

+If I am a Retiree, will my employment with ESI affect my retirement with the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS)?

ESI is not an ASRS entity so your employment with ESI will not impact your retirement with ASRS.

+If I am an early Retiree, will there be a limit on the number of days that I can work next year?

No, since ESI is not an ASRS employer the 20/20 provision does not apply and the number of days worked will not be limited.

What do I need to do?

+What do I need to do and when?

You will need to become an ESI employee in order to work and get paid after the close of the acquisition. Good news! You do not need to complete a full onboarding process with ESI. We have made the process as easy as possible, but we need your help early on. After your district provides us with their approval to move forward with onboarding, you will receive an invitation from us to do a few simple things: 1) Log in to your SmartSchoolsPlus Paycom Portal and 2) Sign the two consent forms (Transition Acknowledgment and Background Check Consent). 3) Complete page one of your I-9 Form and present it in-person to ESI, along with your I-9 document(s) at one of our I-9 Workshops. We will communicate with you as additional details/tasks become available and required.

+Why do I need to present I-9 Employment Eligibility documents to ESI and complete a new I-9 Form? I thought I already gave that information to SmartSchools Plus when they hired me. New

ESI will be your new employer of record. As a result, it is a federal requirement that ESI obtains a new I-9 Form and conducts the E-Verify process upon your hiring. To be federally compliant, your required documents must be presented IN-PERSON to ESI or our authorized personnel, and a new I-9 Form must be completed.

+Will ESI provide assistance with the I-9 Form? New

Yes, ESI will provide on-site open house sessions at various locations throughout the state to make it as convenient for you as possible. Click [here - transition website] for a list of dates, times, and locations available to you to attend. You also have the option to visit ESI's office in Scottsdale anytime Monday - Friday, 8:00AM - 4:30PM (excluding holidays) and our team will assist you with the I-9 Form and your documents. You can check with ESI to see if your district will accept I-9 Forms and Documents directly.

+What is the Transition Acknowledgment form?

Your consent on the Transition Acknowledgment form will allow SmartSchoolsPlus to securely provide ESI with pertinent employment information to expedite the transition process to becoming an ESI employee. Information such as your tax withholding elections, direct deposit, contact info, demographic info, certificates, and fingerprint cards on file, etc. will be transferred to ESI so that you do not have to provide them.

+What if ESI needs an employment document that was not in my SmartSchoolsPlus file? What if some of my documents are expired?

In the event that ESI needs a document that wasn't available in your SmartSchoolsPlus file or was expired, ESI will reach out to you to obtain it. While we have tried to make the transition as easy as possible, please note that it is in your best interest to promptly provide any required information to ESI. Any delay in providing the required information to ESI may delay the start of your employment with ESI, which may jeopardize your position and pay after the close of the acquisition. Visit ESI's website to review our required documents for employment. https://www.educationalservicesinc.com/sites/default/files/uploads/docum...

+What if I'm already an ESI employee? New

To ensure that your SmartSchoolsPlus employee files seamlessly transfer to ESI, please complete the tasks outlined in your Paycom Portal. If you're an active ESI employee, we most likely have everything we need, but we still encourage you to complete the tasks. You do not need to complete a new I-9 Form if you are an active ESI employee.

+What if I don't sign the Transition Acknowledgment form?

If you do not sign the Transition Acknowledgment, you will be required to complete a comprehensive onboarding process from start to finish, which may delay the start of your employment with ESI. This may also jeopardize your position and pay. The Transition Acknowledgment is your shortcut to expedite the process and make it as simple and pain free for you as possible.

+What is the Background Check Consent form?

To ensure the safety of all our students and clients, ESI conducts a consumer report (background check) on every single employee. Your signature on the Background Check Consent form will allow us to run a background check for employment purposes as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

+Will I be charged a fee for the background check?

No, there is no charge to you, and you will not need to complete any background check forms other than providing your consent.

+The Background Check Consent form mentions something about credit history and reports -- will a credit report be ran as part of this background check?

No, the language in the Background Check Consent form is the standard federal disclosure and authorization language used for all consumer reports. ESI does not run the credit history or credit report as part of the employment background check.

+What if I don't sign the Background Check Consent form?

If you do not sign the Background Check Consent form, you will not be eligible for employment with ESI because it is a requirement for employment.

+What if I'm already an ESI employee?

To ensure that your SmartSchoolsPlus employee files seamlessly transfer to ESI, please complete the tasks outlined in your Paycom Portal. If you're an active ESI employee, we most likely have everything we need, but we still encourage you to complete the tasks.

+What do I need to do if my contract with SmartSchoolsPlus ends before the close of the acquisition?

If your contract ends prior to the acquisition close date, you are not required to complete the transition tasks for ESI; however, it is strongly recommended that you sign the Transition Acknowledgment and Background Check Consent form if you plan or wish to return for another contract period in the future so that you will not have to do a comprehensive onboarding process at that time. We encourage you to take advantage of the abbreviated steps to becoming an ESI employee during this transition.

Pay & Position Questions

+What will happen to my job?

Nothing will change with your existing job. If you are a contracted phased retiree, you will continue with the same total pay and position. If you are a substitute employee, you will continue to be a substitute for your district(s) with the same pay, and maintain access to any applicable absence management systems with the same credentials.

+If I choose to join ESI, will my paycheck come from ESI or SmartSchoolsPlus? New

Your paycheck will continue to come from SmartSchool's Paycom until the acquisition closes. This means that the final pay period that will be processed through SmartSchools is the pay period spanning 2/23/2020 to 3/7/2020 which means the final SmartSchools payday is 3/13/20. The first pay period that ESI will begin paying employees will run from 3/8/20 to 3/21/20 with a payday of 3/27/20. A copy of ESI's payday calendar can be found on ESI's website under "Employee Resources".

+What will happen to my substitute contract?

During the transition period, nothing changes. After you become an ESI employee, we will issue Letters of Reasonable Assurance in the Spring to substitutes in lieu of contracts.

+What will happen to my phased retirement employment contract?

If you are a contracted phased retiree, your contract will remain in place with the same position, total pay, and leave information for the remainder of your contract. At the close of the acquisition, you will no longer be a SmartSchoolsPlus employee, but an Educational Services, Inc. employee. You will report to the same job in the same manner after the transition. ESI will outline any new information to you as it becomes available.

+Should I be worried about my job security?

No, nothing changes between you and your position within the district/entity as long as you complete the transition tasks by ESI.

+Will my pay rate change?

No, your annual/daily/hourly pay rate will not change. Pay rates are set by the school districts for SmartSchoolsPlus employees and by state/city/county entities for SmartWorksPlus employees.

+Will my pay date change? New

Your pay date will not change for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

+What happens to my Paid Time Off/Paid Sick Time?

Your PTO and PST banks will transfer to ESI for your use.

+Will I still receive direct deposit after the acquisition closes? Do I need to update my information? New

If you currently have direct deposit set up, and you have signed the Transition Acknowledgment form, you will continue to receive your paycheck in the same account(s). If you currently receive a paper check, you will continue to receive a paper check. If you'd like to make any changes after the acquisition close date you can do so on ESI's employee portal. You will receive directions on how to access ESI's portal after the close date.

+Who will issue my W-2 for 2019? Who will issue my W-2 for 2020? New

SmartSchoolsPlus will issue your W-2 for 2019. ESI will issue your W-2 for 2020.

+How will I accept a substitute position with the District after the acquisition? New

If you are a substitute, you will continue to accept an assignment the same way, your pay will not change, and you are still able to substitute in your favorite schools

+How will I receive a copy of my paystub? New

After the acquisition close date on March 8th, you will have the ability to register for ESI's Employee Portal. Once you start receiving paychecks from ESI, you will be able to view and print your paystub online through this Employee Portal. Login instructions will be provided to you by ESI towards the close of the acquisition.

+Will I receive sick leave, personal leave and vacation time as an ESI employee? New

Through The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, you are entitled to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. In addition, as an existing SmartSchoolsPlus employee, we will rollover the paid sick time that you have accrued (maximum rollover of 40 hours) while working with SmartSchoolsPlus, and it will be available for you to use as an ESI employee after the acquisition closes. Earned paid sick time is to be utilized for an employee's medical care, an employee's need to care for a family member, a public health emergency or addressing domestic violence. You may check your paid sick time balance by logging into ESI's online employee portal (after the acquisition close date). To use your earned paid sick time, please refer to ESI's employee handbook found on the employee portal or acquisiton transition website.

Contact Questions

+Who do I contact if I have questions about my paycheck or position?

During this transition period, prior to the closing date of the acquisition, all questions about your pay or position should be directed to SmartSchoolsPlus at (480) 839-8747 or ssplus@smartschoolsplus.com. After the acquisition closes, all questions should be directed to ESI.

+Who do I contact if I have questions about the transition process?

Contact ESI's team of Employee Service Representatives at hr@esiaz.us or 480-719-3271 to be directed to our team of transition specialists.

+Who do I contact if I need help accessing my SmartSchoolsPlus Paycom Portal?

Visit smartschoolsplus.com and click Employee Login. Click "forgot username or password". Contact SmartSchoolsPlus at (480) 839-8747 if you need further assistance.

+I need to have a Verification of Employment. Who fills it out for me? New

It depends. If it's during this transition period, SmartSchoolsPlus, Inc. is still your employer and you'll need to direct any requests for Verifications of Employment to SmartSchoolsPlus. After the acquisition closes on March 8th, Educational Services, Inc. will be your employer and you can submit Verifications of Employment to ESI.

+What do I put on a form when it asks for my employer? New

It depends. If it's during this transition period, SmartSchoolsPlus, Inc. is still your employer. After the acquisition closes on March 8th, Educational Services, Inc. will be your employer.

Benefits

+Does ESI offer a 401k? New

Yes, ESI offers a 401k savings plan. More information can be found on our 401k page. After the acquisition closes and you become an ESI employee, you will have the opportunity to participate.

+What happens to my 401k? New

If you are an active SmartSchoolsPlus employee and successfully transition to ESI, you will have the option to roll your funds over to ESI's 401k plan once the acquisition closes and you are an active ESI employee. All 401k participants should receive information from the SmartSchoolsPlus 401k plan administrator on how to close out the account.

+Will my hours worked since the start of the school year carry over to ESI to contribute to my calculation for benefit eligibility in 2020? New

Yes, the look back period will be July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020, to determine benefits eligibility for August 2020.

+What kind of benefits does ESI offer? New

ESI offers a wide array of market competitive health benefit plans. ESI offers medical, dental, and vision insurance with rich coverage options. Full time benefits eligible employees will receive enrollment information at the start of their new contracts. Learn more on our benefits page.

+Will I have an opportunity for open enrollment when the acquisition closes? New

The acquisition does not fall into the "qualifying event" category in the eyes of the IRS, so only the employees that are currently enrolled in benefits with SSP will be transferred into our "like" benefit plans. The insurance carriers will not allow an open enrollment period at this time. Full time benefits-eligible employees will receive benefits enrollment information at the start of a brand new contract.