Local school districts offer incentives to fill teacher, sub positions

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 1:12 PM EDT
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ROANOKE VALLEY, Va. (WDBJ) - Staffing shortages have seemingly affected almost every industry as we continue to recover from the pandemic, and education is no exception.

“We’re not where we want to be, but our plan is to open successfully once the students get back,” says Chief Human Resources Officer for Roanoke City Schools, Dominick McKee.

District officials believe they are on the more fortunate side of the teacher shortage, saying they have enough staff to open and operate.

They credit that to a few major factors.

“We’re making sure that we have organizational structure in place, meaning that we offer professional development, we offer the salary increase,” he adds. “We also want to make sure we offer the support and that they have a place to voice their concerns. Those are the three major things that really keep teachers and staff, so we want to focus more on the retention piece as well as the recruitment piece.”

Roanoke City Schools is offering a $500 referral bonus and up to a 14% salary increase for teachers.

Lynchburg City Schools is also providing financial incentive to teachers including up to a $2,500 signing bonus that could apply to full- and part-time staff, which they say has been a factor, along with other retention tactics, in helping them prepare for the school year.

“Despite the challenges across the nation, we have successfully filled vacancies. We also have come up with creative and innovative ways to address some of these vacancies so we offer some hiring incentives,” Lakrisha Scott, Director of Lynchburg City Schools Human Resources, presented at the Tuesday night school board meeting.

Both school districts have also found benefits of holding job fairs to attract candidates to their district.

“We’re also looking at retirees,” McKee explains. “The VDOE just sent out this year only, we can bring back retirees full-time that have had a 12-month break in service. We’re trying to do different things, really you have to think outside the box.”

Roanoke City Schools says the biggest challenge it’s faced is having fewer applicants for vital teaching positions.

“They serve as the gate to the education for our students,” he adds. “We have to have the right person in place; we can’t just pick anybody. We’re in good shape right now, but we’re still working towards filling some of those open positions. We’re still interviewing, we’re still looking at applications, we’re still making offers. We’ll be making offers up until the first day of school.”

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