The Alamance-Burlington school system is offering a $10,000 bonus in hopes of hiring teachers to fill critical teaching positions for the upcoming school year.
ABSS superintendent Dr. Dain Butler announced Friday that the $10,000 signing bonuses will be offered to newly-hired teachers in the following positions:
• Middle and high school Career and Technical Education;
• Middle and high school math and science;
• Core classroom teachers in Title I elementary schools;
• Exceptional children’s teachers;
• Speech and language pathologists; occupational therapists; and psychologists.
ABSS currently has more than 100 teaching vacancies in all 37 schools, which now include the Alamance Virtual School based at Sellars-Gunn Education Center in Burlington.
System-wide, ABSS had a total of 330 vacancies as of Monday, though signing bonuses are not being offered for all positions.
ABSS will use part of its stimulus funding from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) package passed by Congress last year to pay for the bonuses for most teaching positions, while reimbursements from Medicaid Administrative Claims will be used to fund the signing bonuses for EC teachers, Butler said Friday.
The bonuses will be split in half, with $5,000 paid upon hiring and the remaining $5,000 paid in May 2023, Butler explained. “Districts across the country are attempting to fill similar positions as fewer people are choosing to enter the profession,” he noted. “Our hope is that these bonuses, coupled with our exceptional teacher support programs, will be an extra incentive to attract the best educators to ABSS.”
School board members had previously voted late last fall to give every existing ABSS employees a $3,000 bonus, for a total of $10.5 million. That bonus was included with each employee’s December 2021 paycheck and, like the signing bonus being offered for prospective new hires, was also funded by the ESSER III stimulus money that ABSS received last year.
“The board is aware of this initiative and each person who is hired will be approved by the board on our personnel report,” Butler told The Alamance News Tuesday.
He indicated that the plan to offer a $10,000 signing bonus to prospective teachers did not need prior board approval. “I’m not sure how much this will total since we don’t know how many people we will actually hire under this initiative,” Butler explained. State law requires prior board approval of any expenditures or contracts that exceed $100,000.
Widespread teacher shortages
Meanwhile, other nearby public school systems are offering signing bonuses in hopes of filling vacant teaching positions.
Hoping to fill approximately 150 teacher vacancies, Guilford County schools announced late last month that it would offer $10,000 signing bonuses to newly-hired teachers who agree to work there at least two years, according to multiple news reports.
Other N.C. public school systems – including the two largest, Wake County public schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, which as of last week had 439 and 400 vacant teaching positions, respectively – are also offering signing bonuses to attract teachers to work for their school systems, according to news reports. Durham public schools, which had 220 teaching vacancies as of last week, is also offering signing bonuses to recruit teachers for hard-to-fill positions, WTVD-11 reported last week.
Wake County public schools is using part of its ESSER funding to offer prospective EC teachers a $3,500 signing bonus, plus $1,750 after three months of employment and $1,750 in November 2022, while all other employees would receive a $1,250 retention bonus with their May 2022 and November 2022 paychecks, according to the school system.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools is offering prospective teachers in hard-to-fill positions a $7,500 signing bonus, to be paid for with federal Title I funding, The Charlotte Observer reported this spring.
Guilford County schools is offering a $10,000 signing bonus for newly-hired teachers who agree to work at least two years in one of 25 “priority schools” and/or in other hard-to-fill teaching positions, the school system announced last month. New hires who agree to work at least three years could be eligible for double that amount – a $20,000 signing bonus – providing they teach high school math or science, English as a Second Language, or EC (General and Adapted Curriculum), as well as meet certain state standards for teacher effectiveness, according to Guilford County schools’ human resources department.
Durham public schools began offering prospective new teachers a $3,500 recruitment incentive bonus – and up to $8,000 for those who agree to work in hard-to-fill positions and low-performing schools and agree to stay for three years – last year in hopes of filling more than 300 vacant positions for the 2021-22 school year, according to the school system.
Durham also used a portion of its federal ESSER stimulus funding to pay for the bonuses.
ABSS teachers are scheduled to report to work on Thursday, August 18 for the upcoming 2022-23 school year; the first day for students is Monday, August 29.