Facing critical teacher shortages, St. Tammany Parish Schools Superintendent Frank Jabbia unveiled a plan this week to recruit new employees, including $ 1.3 million in incentives for new and current employees.
The school district has 248 teacher vacancies – a “very high” number, Jabbia said.
Jabbia told the School Board Thursday there are teacher shortages in special ed, now known as the Students with Exceptionalities Department, as well as math, science and English. The district also needs bus drivers.
Jabbia’s plan, which does not require School Board approval, takes effect beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. It will give new certified teachers an additional $ 1,000, starting them at a higher step on the salary scale. Experienced teachers who are new to the parish system would have the $ 1,000 bump added to their pay, as well.
New and current certified special education teachers will receive an additional $ 1,000.
Teacher shortages nationwide
Jabbia said shortages in math, science and special ed teachers are at a critical juncture. “It’s not just us, it’s nationwide,” he added.
“We have to do something to incentivize getting additional qualified educators into our system and keeping them once they’re here.”
In addition to those increases, all new and existing support employees in critically short areas will receive pay bumps if they’ve obtained degrees above a high school diploma. Employees with an associate degree will get an additional $ 350, a bachelor’s degree would bring $ 700 and a master’s degree or above an extra $ 1,050 annually. The increases will not be given to employees in management positions.
New bus driver salaries will also be increased. The district will also reimburse the cost of each driver’s CDL license fee and pay for the three days of training if the driver is employed with the district 90 days after hiring.
Salary increase timing questioned
The recruitment and retention plan is in addition to across-the-board pay increases approved by the School Board starting with the 2022-2023 school year.
Jabbia’s plan drew praise from several School Board members at Thursday’s committee meetings.
But Brant Osborn, president of the St. Tammany Federation of Teachers and School Employees, said the timing of Jabbia’s announcement was disheartening. The school district and union have been meeting to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement and Osborn said some members thought Jabbia’s incentive plan was actually the new CBA.
“The superintendent can make decisions on new employees, but some of the other material presented, the things about current employees, that’s part of ongoing negotiations,” Osborn said. based on experience.
We do not need the piecemeal version, “he said.” We need to present the whole package. “
Jabbia said it was important to move forward with hiring and retention incentives now as the school district’s annual job fair is scheduled for May 21. The event is by invite only and invitations go out the first week of May.