Teacher shortage solution: Raise pay?

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A big push took place  in Olympia Tuesday to address the teacher shortage crisis throughout the state.  Principals and superintendents across Washington showed up to a Senate hearing pleading for help.

“We have 12 positions that this year we have a person who is not yet trained in that area teaching the kids in that classroom,” said Yakima School District Superintendent Jack Irion.

Earlier this month, the governor called out the teacher shortage crisis, which will number in the thousands over the next few years.

On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn called on lawmakers to step up and act immediately.  Among other things, he wants to cut red tape.

“We do have teachers that are out there that are willing to, high qualified teachers that are retired, that are willing to be subs,” Dorn said to lawmakers attending the hearing.  Dorn wants to make it easier for retired teachers to get back into the classroom.

The state House passed a bill later Tuesday that would allow retired teachers to substitute without it affecting their retirement benefits. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Here are the main elements of Dorn’s proposal to combat the teacher shortage proposal:

  • Give signing bonus of $5,000 - $10,000
  • Increase starting pay to $40,000
  • Allowed retired teachers to return to classrooms
  • Encourage out of state teachers to come to Washington
  • Student loan forgiveness for those considering entering the profession

There is money that is required in this proposal, which is going to make it tough in Olympia.  It comes at a time when lawmakers are scrambling to come up funds to comply with a state Supreme Court mandate to fully fund schools.

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