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AEA says teacher sign-on incentives work, but they aren’t the cure to teacher shortage

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 9:48 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As the end of the school year nears, school districts are working overtime to recruit more teachers for the fall, with many offerings cash incentives.

William Tunnell with the Alabama Educators Association said they are seeing less teachers retiring compared to last year, because of money.

All teachers are getting a pay raise from the state this year, but Tunnell said cash incentives to stay or sign on are very attractive to teachers who were thinking of quitting.

Districts like Birmingham City Schools are offering some sign on bonuses as high as $7,500, and Tunnell said that will be very attractive to teachers, but he said experienced teachers need more than just bonuses to stay.

“The recruitment incentives, absolutely they work and they can be very effective,” Tunnell said. “But, once you get that employee, you want to try and keep them, so the work environment is very important. If they have a manageable class size, supportive administration, and if they have the resources they need to do their jobs.”

Tunnell said it’s easier for districts to offer sign-on bonuses than it is for them to offer raises, because it won’t cost as much. He said the districts that will have the best retention of teachers are the ones offering a start incentive and that pay higher than the state’s pay matrix.

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