Bay Area School Districts Offer Cash Incentives to Keep Teachers From Leaving
Teachers are in such short supply after the pandemic that some local school districts are using cash incentives to entice some of their teachers to stay.
And it’s working – at least for some.
School is set to start in just over a month at San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley School District, which does not have enough teachers for each classroom. The shortage comes after the district gave teachers and staff a hefty bonus.
District officials would like its human resources office filled with teacher applicants, but educators are just not coming.
“I’m not panicking at this time, but it is a concern that we have that number of open positions in the beginning of July,” said Juan Cruz, Franklin-McKinley School District superintendent.
The district did what it could to keep its teachers by giving them, along with other staff, a $4,500 bonus for working through the challenges of virtual learning throughout the pandemic.
“The bonus was not a way for us to recruit, but rather to show appreciation to our current staff,” Cruz said.
Still, the superintendent said many teachers moved out of state to more affordable communities.
At San Jose Unified School District, teachers and staff got a $1,500 bonus at the end of the school year and will receive another $1,500 if they come back this fall.
So far, the strategy is working at SJUSD, with the district filling most of its positions.
“We were happy that we had the funds available to support our employees and felt good about investing in our teachers,” said Stephen McMahon, San Jose Unified School District deputy superintendent.
Cruz said many school districts used their COVID relief fund to pay those bonuses – and even that was not enough. The superintendent said he still might have to hire some non-credentialed applicants to fill all the classrooms.
Having non-credentialed educators is a concern to some parents who worry about the quality of education their kids will get. The parents also feel teachers should be paid more so they can stay.
“They need to because teachers help build the foundation for the kids, education and all that,” parent Lily Nguyen said.