The state Senate Finance K-12 Education School Equity Subcommittee met Tuesday to hear about South Carolina’s teacher recruiting and retention efforts.
Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, & Advancement Executive Director Jane Turner told senators teacher shortages will become a worse problem in the future if current education trends continue. A CERRA study found more than 6,000 teachers left the classroom across South Carolina last school year. Meanwhile, the state’s colleges only produced 1,900 graduates with an education major.
Turner urged lawmakers to continue improving incentives in certain poor, rural districts to attract teachers and keep them in their jobs.
“If you taught for a year in one of these rural districts you could get up to $5,000 to pay off your remaining undergraduate loans,” she said. She said a teacher could get that $5,000 each year they stayed in the teaching job for up to seven years.
Turner said even with such offers it’s still a challenge to recruit and keep teachers in the state.
Melanie Jinnette of the South Carolina Association of School Business Officials told senators there was state money for the last school year to help retain teachers. “The legislature appropriated a little over $5 million in 2016-17 to districts with 80 percent poverty or more,” Jinnette said.
Jinnette said some districts used the money to recruit teachers from outside of the state. “This funding has allowed some districts to provide incentives and recruit outside of the borders of South Carolina,” Jinnette told senators.