Critical Staff Recruitment Incentive Launched with Retention Incentive in the Works
Attracting high-end talent in a profession with a shrinking number of qualified candidates is tough under any circumstances, let alone during the still uncertain times due to the global pandemic.
Person County Schools is hopeful that offering an incentive of up to $5,000 will bring teachers to work in critically hard areas to fill if they choose to work in the district. All areas are challenging to fill in education; however, math, science, exceptional children, and healthcare related areas are now at a critical level in PCS meaning there are few to no qualified candidates applying in these areas.
PCS is offering qualified and recommended candidates a “sign-on” bonus of $2000 followed by an additional $300 per month for the first year of teaching in PCS. The teachers would have to agree to serve the school district for at least two full school years. The funding for the recruiting incentive will come from the Title II - Improving Teacher Quality federal grant.
Lori Stacey, Chief Human Resources Officer, stated, “Between now and August 1 is when we receive the most resignations. Surrounding districts are experiencing this same trend. We lose teachers to these districts and gain from them as well. When looking at the number of current vacancies and then analyzing the areas that the vacancies fall, we have to be aggressive to fill the classrooms for when the students return in August. I am thankful our board understands the challenges that come with recruiting quality candidates and are willing to take steps to make Person County Schools a district that candidates look at even though we are small. Person County Schools has much to offer its employees in the way of personal support that larger districts just cannot. If we can get candidates to look our way, we can hook them.”
“PCS is looking to hire around 30 teachers between now and Aug. 1,” Stacey shared. Every year, the district anticipates around 10 to 12 retirements while about 20 others leave for family reasons, career changes, or to teach elsewhere.
The bonuses are PCS’ way of differentiating itself in an increasingly competitive job market that is seeing fewer teacher candidates applying for openings.
“This has been a growing concern, not just in Person County Schools, but across the state and country for a long time,” Dr. Rodney Peterson, Superintendent, said. “When I got my teaching job back in the ’90′s, there were dozens of applicants for every position. Today, we could have one or two applicants for a position. Add the need for science, math, exceptional children, and healthcare in the mix and applicants are non-existent. College graduates that have these backgrounds are not looking to go into a profession with the pay that is offered to teachers.”
Peterson continued, “The critical to fill areas recruiting initiative is a start. It is extremely important to me and to our board to recognize other areas too. We are looking at the funding for this. Additionally, it is just as important if not more important to retain the great teachers that we already have in place. That is our next big project. My staff is developing a retention incentive to share with the board in the upcoming months.”