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Aiken County schools giving bonuses to teachers to combat shortage

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Finding enough teachers is still a struggle for local school districts. Aiken County is exploring more incentives as an avenue for job marketing.

As of September 2021, the district had 22 classroom vacancies. That number is only going up.

In addition to a shortage of teachers, educators are retiring or leaving at the end of the school year.

Aiken County schools are trying to fill the need for teachers. The district currently has 97 openings for the next school year.

“I don’t think we’re giving the students exactly what they need. And that’s sort of a failing on our part. But if we can’t find somebody, we can’t find somebody,” said Dr. John Bradley, ACPSD board chairman.

On Feb. 8, the school district announced it would give $2,500 sign-on incentives to newly hired teachers at schools identified as ‘in-need’ and teachers in certain subjects.

“It’s pretty basic having teachers in the classroom, and that’s certainly where we need to put money if that’s what it takes to do it,” said Bradley.

Now, they are taking it a step further by expanding that bonus to those they already hired this year. The provision grants incentives to faculty hired after Sept. 30, 2021.

“We were not where we want to be. We had vacancies. In some of those vacancies, we had no prospects in terms of the applicant pool,” he said.

The laundry list of schools really in need of teachers includes all Ridge Spring-Monetta schools, Busbee, Greendale, North Aiken Elementary, AL Corbett Middle, and Wagener-Salley High School.

Funding for the incentives will be paid out through a federal grant for improving teacher and principal quality. Bonuses are expected to hit teachers’ pockets this fall.

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