Incentives offered to get more teachers in rural schools

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 9:07 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama state legislature gave the state department of education more money to pay and hire teachers. Some of that cash is going into incentive packages recruiting more teachers to rural schools.

“We came into the pandemic with a teacher shortage. The pandemic has exacerbated the teacher shortage,” Dr. Eric Mackey, Superintendent of Education, said recently.

Mackey said that’s especially true for schools in rural Alabama communities. During a recent visit to Tuscaloosa, he told educators some students had gone years without being taught by a highly qualified teacher at one rural school.

“We have places now where we do not have enough people applying for jobs to teach in elementary school. So, it’s getting pretty scary,” Mackey added.

He called that a growing issue for schools the further they’re away from major cities in Alabama. The state legislature approved money for pay raises and incentive packages for others. Mackey believes that can help lure teachers to rural schools where they’re sorely needed.

“Depending on where you want to go, we’re doing loan forgiveness too. By the way for several, for math and special education and science teachers and even loan forgiveness if they go to a rural school,” Mackey continued.

Mackey said the education budget approved by legislators also allows for some teachers to get as much as a 6% pay raise. Starting salaries were also boosted to $41,000 a year.

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