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District to offer bonuses for special ed teachers

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 21st, 2012

The Page Unified School District governing board voted Nov. 13 to offer $2,500 one-time signing bonuses for newly hired special education, speech pathology and math teachers.

Board members Robert Candelaria, Bill Justice and Theresa White supported the idea; board president Sandra Kidman voted against it.

Superintendent Jim Walker said when the district is unable to fill these positions it must deal with costly contract agencies.

“When you attend a recruiting fair, many districts are offering incentives for high-need teaching areas,” he said. “To be competitive and fill our vacancies we have to consider providing hiring incentives. This is especially true when you live in a rural community where the cost of living might make us less attractive than other locations.”

Walked said many factors were considered in the decision including class size.

“Hiring special education teachers is not an option due to the required services that they provide to our students. We could manage with fewer math teachers but then our class sizes would have to increase because this is a required course for graduation. Our district has tried to make it a priority to keep class sizes at a reasonable number.”

Walker was asked how these bonuses play into the tightening of the budget the district has been discussing in light of the failure of the override tax,.

“It really becomes a necessity due to the high demand for these positions,” he replied. “In some cases it is much more costly to not fill the position because we have to pay for expensive vendor contracted services. In other situations the impact is on the class size that you are willing to live with.”

Recently hired head high school football coach and special education instructor, Jeff Wheatley said that while it would have been nice to have received a bonus, “It’s no skin off my back. I think it’s great. It’ll be a good way to keep people here.”

Wheatley said these are pretty demanding positions that the district is offering the bonuses for, and he thinks the district would do good to offer an incentive to ensure these positions are filled with quality individuals.

Walked added that the district currently has at least one open position in all three subjects that it has not been able to recruit for.

For the complete article see the 11-21-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-21-2012 paper.

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