Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Statewide new effort to fill vacant teaching positions

School may be closed, but for some, class remains in session. Kathleen Peter is helping her summer semester students with earth science lessons.

But it’s not just busy inside the classroom.

Administrators like Antonio Abitabili are working hard to fill the vacant posts of staff.

“Around this time of year, it’s when we try to do all of our hiring,” Abitabel said.

This is a process that is becoming increasingly competitive and districts across the country are trying to keep up.

“We’ve got used to accepting the situation on the spot and what’s starting to happen is you hear teachers go, ‘Okay, can I get back to you in a few days’ ‘ or ‘I have another interview tomorrow,’ and they weigh it. We’ve lost teachers, last year we lost a teacher for less than $1,000 a year,” Abitabel said.

Eligible school districts expect state teachers to resolve the program tomorrow. The statewide initiative helps districts work harder by offering recruitment stipends to fill positions such as Science, Maths and English as a New Language. Those new teachers are entitled to $3,400 per year for their first four years.

“Overall, $3,400 for us ends up with an increase of about 8% on top of our basic pay, so that’s a good chunk of change,” Abitabil said.

This can make a difference especially as the education landscape is constantly changing. Some years have been tough for teachers – and moreover, those in difficult areas can often make more money using their skills elsewhere.

“Right now we’re really struggling with our world language teachers because a Spanish translator can make a lot of money outside of public education. So it’s an interesting phenomenon that’s happening right now,” Abitabile said.

But teachers continue to make a difference, navigating the curveballs that come their way.

The district believes that the Teachers’ Tomorrow Grant is going to have a long-term impact, ensuring that the future of education is headed in the right direction.

“For me, the long-term impact of this grant and all the other efforts that we are taking, this measure is not necessarily that it is September, it is September after that. September after that. September after that,” Abitabel said.

The program will also allow the district to offer a tuition reimbursement.

Nation World News Desk
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