Wake County colleges will supply a $3,500 incentive bonus to new particular training lecturers :: WRAL.com

– New special education teachers will receive a $ 3,500 bonus if they work for the district for at least 12 months, the Wake County Board of Education ruled 8-1 on Tuesday.

The Wake County’s public school system has a special education teacher shortage of approximately 100 special education teachers, or 6.8%, for this upcoming school year. In total, the district has more than 1,500 special education positions. The vacancy rate for regular class teachers is about three times lower – 2.4%.

The bonus is valid for anyone who accepts a job after July 1 through November 21, and the first half is paid out after three months of employment. The other half will be paid out in November 2022 if the teacher is still employed from October 2022. Overall, it would cost the county about $ 500,000 to hire for every vacancy that remains and the roughly two dozen positions already hired since July 1

The shortage of special education teachers in Wake County is not an isolated one. But it is happening as the ongoing teacher shortage persists, as the difficulties in providing special education services last year could lead to an increased need for them the next year, and as school districts across North Carolina and across the country are using federal grants to hire temporary educators and support professionals. Wake County itself is hiring dozens of additional teachers for its virtual academy.

However, the bonus could mean that new teachers end up earning more than teachers with the same or one year of experience, as the $ 1,750 annual bonus amount exceeds the annual salary increase – usually around $ 1,000 or less – for all years, but the salary increase from the 24th to the 25th year.

Board member Jim Martin said this gave him a break from considering the measure.

“I just can’t handle the fact that existing teachers earn less,” he said.

He asked how much it would cost the district to raise the salaries for these first year teachers, but district officials said they couldn’t release that number until Tuesday night’s vote.

Martin voted against the bonus.

Board member Karen Carter and others argued that the county needs to develop a plan to improve the district’s employability and pay workers more fairly.

The district, Carter said, “needs to set clear, step-by-step, year-after-year goals.”

Board chairman Keith Sutton stressed that the hiring situation for special education teachers was an “emergency” but also noted that long-term change should not come from the county. The state is primarily responsible for paying school staff.

“We could provide more money,” he said, but the board would have to “go to the district commissioners to ask for something that is not entirely their responsibility.”

Special education is a government-mandated program. Schools cannot refuse services, so a shortage of special education teachers means more responsibility falls on the shoulders of existing teachers rather than being completely refused services due to staff shortages.

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