Aiken County schools offer sign-on bonuses for new teachers

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:45 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Aiken County schools wrapped up their first week back in the classroom Friday, but the search for more staff is not over.

The school district tells us before the year started, they hired over 250 new teachers.

At least half got hiring bonuses.

We checked in with Aiken County schools to see how much those bonuses helped with hiring, and how many are left.

This year, the district offered an extra $2,500 bonus for teachers who signed in areas where positions are harder to fill.

“We provided a sign-on bonus for teachers in specific content areas, math and special education then we added science. As well as at specific locations that are historically more difficult for us to fill in our rural communities,” said Chief Officer of Human Resources and Administration, Jennifer Hart.

The district says the need for incentives stems from not having as many options in smaller areas and a nationwide teacher shortage.

“We don’t have as many people who are interested in going into the profession, who are then completing that degree in education and then entering the field as an educator,” said Hart.

Hart says these bonuses proved to be a success.

“We were able to fill over 125 positions that were bonus eligible so I would say it definitely worked,” she said.

But as a new group of teachers enters their classrooms, a few positions are still sitting empty.

“We do still have right at 35 or 36 positions that were bonus eligible that we’re recruiting for,” said Hart. “The greatest needs are in math and science and in special education.”

They are going to continue to hire teachers but the district’s top priority is ensuring instruction for their students.

If you sign to a position where bonuses were offered for the school and content area, that’s an extra $5,000.

The deadline to apply and still be eligible for those bonuses is September 30.

Hart says they do have alternate paths to certification for anyone who did not receive a teaching degree in college.