JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson Public Schools are looking to hire at least 30 teachers across the district. As a way to attract the best possible talent, they made the decision to give new teaching hires a $10,000 bonus.
"Jackson Public Schools is very aggressive in the marketplace for hiring staff this year. I am anticipating and I did a rough up on the numbers about 30 teaching positions between today and August first," Superintendent Jeff Beal said.
Beal says they typically have 10-15 positions to fill each year. But this year that number is much higher.
"It's for this year, for this particular round of hiring," Beal said. "There is some caveats. This isn't a forever thing. We participated in a job fair where we have a whole host of interviews set up."
The shortage is partly fueled by the pandemic and the district having to downsize classes for social distancing purposes.
"I have 10 positions that I need to fill right now and I'm anticipating another 10 to 15 positions to help shrink class sizes for next year because COVID by the way isn't going anywhere," Beal said. "We know we're going to want to social distance to the best degree we can so we're going to look to bring down some of those class sizes because again, our goal is to have the kids in front of us."
Beal is hoping this bonus will create more competition to get the best candidates at Jackson Public Schools.
"When I came out of college there were 100 resumes for every job," Beal said. "You truly had to compete. I will tell you that in today's market there are one, two resumes, maybe three for a given position. Sometimes we have zero for a given position, especially some of those hard to fill positions like the world languages where they're not pushing out as many graduates to fill those vacancies."
The money is coming from the district's general expenditure fund. Beal says the $10,000 per new teacher will actually save them money.
"That number is not really $10,000 all up front in one year. It's really in this year. If I were to hire all 30 of them it's $150,000. That's my number. So, it's not $300,000. It's half of that this first year. Then it will diminish in the future years. But, I could spend $150,000 covering or paying overloads to teachers for classes we're not able to fill and if we can't offer those positions that's a greater problem for me," Beal said.
The bonus will be split up into several payments starting with a $500 moving allowance, then a $5,000 payment the first year, $2,500 the second year and $2,000 the third year.
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