SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — School districts were hit hard by the pandemic and now many are left short-staffed, unable to recruit and retain workers in certain positions that have become harder to fill.
“We have had an ongoing shortage of special education teachers, and nurses that have been in short supply during the pandemic,” said Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne board president for the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD).
SDUSD relied on substitute teachers to staff some vacant positions, but now- the district and the union representing employees, the San Diego Education Association, have come up with a tentative agreement they hope will attract new employees and keep those they have.
The agreement would need to be voted on before it's official, that’s expected to happen in the coming weeks, according to SDUSD.
Whitehurst-Payne, the district's board president says under the proposal, the district would offer a $10,000 hiring incentive for new special education teachers and school nursing positions.
“The incentive includes giving us two years of service and we'll give them a $10,000 bonus for that, five each year,” she said.
She said current teachers who have both a general education and a special education credential and transfer from general to special education from May to November 2022 will also receive the $10,000 bonus.
There are about 80 open positions in the special education department, according to SDUSD.
“A normal year you may just have 10 to 15, but during the pandemic 80 is just… really that's a lot of folks,” said Whitehurst-Payne.
The district said all current full-time salaried employees would also get a bonus, it would be 4.5 percent of their annual base salary, paid in ten equal installments during the next school year.
“I'm just excited we're getting our labor issues settled early,” said Whitehurst-Payne.
The district is also holding a job fair on June 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its headquarters on 4100 Normal St. In-person interviews for various positions, from teaching to transportation and food services will be offered. Open positions are listed here.