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Richmond Schools may offer $4,000 signing bonuses amid 'critical' teacher shortage

Posted at 11:41 AM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 12:20:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras wants to offer "critical shortage" signing bonus for incoming teachers in an effort to attract more teachers to Richmond classrooms. He's proposing a $2,000 bonus for new teachers and a $4,000 bonus for more experienced teachers. When Kamras officially submits his plan to the Richmond School Board on Monday night, he will also break down that teacher shortage.

Richmond Public Schools is grappling with a 36 percent increase in the number of teacher vacancies for the 2022-23 school year compared to the start of the 2021-22 school year.

In his presentation sent to board members, Kamras highlighted that out of the 552 Richmond Schools teacher vacancies reported on July 10, 40 percent of those jobs (approximately 220 positions) still need to be filled.

The problem is particularly bad at the middle school level where 79 teachers are needed.

  • River City Middle School is down 21 teachers
  • Henderson Middle is down 15 teachers
  • Boushall Middle is down 12 teachers

"The past year was extremely stressful and exhausting for teachers – perhaps the most so in decades," Kamras wrote in his presentation. "The pandemic caused a record number of absences, which resulted in teachers losing planning time and other breaks, larger class sizes, and frequent disruptions. In addition, the trauma experienced by students during the pandemic created an even more challenging teaching environment. Finally, many teachers fell ill themselves and experienced significant mental health challenges throughout the year. As a result, we saw a greater number of resignations during and at the end of the year than in years past."

In addition to doubling the signing bonus, Kamras also proposed a $6,000 moving stipend to motivate teachers to move to Richmond.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers reached out to other school districts in Central Virginia to gauge teacher shortages in other communities.

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

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