Teachers are so rare after the pandemic that some local school districts are using cash incentives to get some of their teachers to stay.
And it works – at least for some.
School is slated to start in just over a month in San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley School District, which does not have enough teachers for each class. The shortage comes after the district gave teachers and staff a big bonus.
District officials would like its human resources office to be filled with teacher candidates, but educators just aren’t coming.
âI’m not panicking right now, but it’s concerning that we have this number of positions open at the beginning of July,â said Juan Cruz, superintendent of the Franklin-McKinley School District.
The district has done what it can to keep its teachers by giving them and other staff a $ 4,500 bonus for meeting the challenges of virtual learning throughout the pandemic.
âThe bonus was not a way for us to recruit, but rather to show our appreciation to our current staff,â said Cruz.
Still, the superintendent said many teachers had left the state for more affordable communities.
At the San Jose Unified School District, teachers and staff received a $ 1,500 bonus at the end of the school year and will receive an additional $ 1,500 if they return this fall.
So far, the strategy is working at SJUSD, with the district occupying most of its positions.
âWe were pleased to have the funds available to support our employees and felt good to invest in our teachers,â said Stephen McMahon, assistant superintendent of the San Jose Unified School District.
Cruz said many school districts were using their COVID relief funds to pay these premiums – and even that wasn’t enough. The superintendent said he may still have to hire unaccredited candidates to fill all classrooms.
Having unaccredited educators is a concern for some parents who are concerned about the quality of education their children will receive. Parents also believe that teachers should be paid better in order to stay.
âThey need it because the teachers are helping to lay the groundwork for the children, education and all that,â said parent Lily Nguyen.