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Despite offering incentives, Richmond still has to hire 163 teachers before school starts

Teacher: 'I would implore anyone that is interested in coming to teach for Richmond, we would love to have you'
Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 18:46:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- School districts are frantically trying to hire enough teachers before students in much of Central Virginia return to the classroom next month.

Inspired while filling his mind with knowledge at a teaching institute at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture this week, Richmond preschool teacher Darrell Turner can only hope others will be motivated to do what he does for a living.

“I would implore anyone that is interested in coming to teach for Richmond, we would love to have you,” Turner said.

School districts across the country are facing teacher shortages and the Richmond metro is no different.

As of last Friday, Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield had 678 teacher vacancies combined.

“Folks are always wondering, ‘Well, why is it so hard to get people to commit to going into the classroom?’” Turner said.

Richmond Public Schools
Richmond Public Schools

Richmond, where Turner works, had 176 full-time classroom teacher vacancies last Friday. A week later the district had 163 openings. That means Richmond Public Schools has only filled 13 positions since last week.

“The students aren't having that consistent presence in the classroom especially if you have subs going in and out,” Turner explained.

To try to attract staff, Richmond is offering large incentives like a $6,000 moving stipend for any teacher moving here from greater than 50 miles away and $4,000 for experienced teachers in critical shortage subjects.

RPS will also pay for instructional assistants to complete coursework so they can get a teaching license as soon as possible. Administrators hope those measures will reduce having to combine classrooms and use substitute teachers.

“If it turns out those incentives do attract more people to our district, I hope maybe it might serve as a model for other districts and maybe help them with some of the shortages they are experiencing,” Turner said.

WTVR CBS 6 asked for an update on teacher vacancy numbers in Chesterfield and Henrico on Friday, but both school divisions were closed. As a result, those numbers are expected to be available Monday.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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