Alabama schools looking to recruit teachers ahead of next school year

WAFF 48's Claudia Peppenhorst reporting
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 6:37 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -While students have summer break on their minds, school districts are worried about filling open positions for next year. State education leaders have battled the teacher shortage for years but now they are hopeful a potential pay raise will solve their issues.

“The only way we’re going to be able to staff our schools appropriately is we’ve got to increase their pay,” said Alabama Education Association District 3 Director Beverly Sims.

Sims said she’s hopeful a 2% teacher pay raise included in the proposed state education budget will help recruit and retain educators.

State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said a pay raise would play a big part in bringing new educators into the state.

“Pay and benefits are very important to all people and they’re certainly important to teachers,” Dr. Mackey said. “I’m certainly very supportive of Governor Ivey’s proposed 2% pay raise and that has moved through the state senate and we hope that it moves through the state house even this week and locks in that guaranteed pay raise for next year.”

The proposed historic state education budget includes pay increases for teachers and staff, plus bonuses for special education teachers and speech therapists. Sims said the pay increase for the support staff in schools is long overdue and is where we are seeing a majority of open positions in schools.

“That’s really where we are seeing our biggest shortages and I think a lot of times people think of teacher applications and teacher positions but they forget that it takes a village and the village includes our support professionals and our schools cannot function without them,” Sims said.

As for now, schools will continue recruitment and hiring as normal. Dr. Mackey said if you’re interested in a career in education, there is always a position open.

Luckily here in North Alabama, Sims said recruitment is easier than in other parts of the state as many are looking to move into the Huntsville area.

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