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Southeast Texas school districts try different approach to get new teachers

Southeast Texas School Districts are trying to fill job vacancies before the first day of class.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Southeast Texas school districts are trying to fill job vacancies before the first day of class.

Beaumont Independent School District said they are looking at local and international candidates to fill positions in areas such as child nutrition, transportation, maintenance and operations.

Beaumont ISD is also looking to hire more teachers, Brandon Basinger, human resource manager, said. While the district recruits for permanent positions, they will start the year using substitutes.

“We've already hired or are in the process of hiring 135 teachers this summer,” Basinger said. “We do still have 86 positions that we're looking to fill."

There are still 86 teaching positions to fill, but that is an improvement from 2020 when the district was down 230 teachers, he said.

The district has been hosting job fairs and recruitment events hoping to spread the word.

“We need about 40 elementary teachers across the district right now,” Basinger said. “Those numbers sound big, but when you're looking at a district that employs 1,100 teachers, we're in good shape as far as the national average, but not where we want to be for our kids. We want to get to 100 percent.”

Beaumont ISD is also offering incentives for people with four-year degrees looking to teach in the district, Basinger said.  Applicants can earn an additional $2,000 to $2,500.

“If there are any teachers out there or people who are thinking about becoming teachers and have a bachelor's degree, there is a $2,000 hiring incentive this year for teachers,” he said.  “For counselors, diagnosticians and speech language pathologists, we’re offering $2,500 hiring incentive.”

During the pandemic, some teachers who were near retirement decided to leave early, Travis Maines, assistant superintendent in Vidor, said. This worsened an ongoing issue.

“It's not your normal turnover,” he said.  “It's a higher turnover rate than what we're used to seeing. It’s part of a trend we've noticed. I would say over the past 10 years, it's more and more difficult to find teachers each year.”

When it comes to Texas teachers, Vidor Independent School District is also trying new recruiting tactics like virtual job fairs to try and target a younger demographic.

“We also try to work with colleges and student teachers," Maines said. "Because if we can get a student teacher to come teach with us and provide that learning environment and that support, that person is more than likely to be interested in staying with us to teach.” 

Both school districts said they are taking applicants from in and outside of the country, and they will continue to host job fairs and other recruitment events to try and fill their vacancies.

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