Week of 8/1: Staffing Disruptions

By the end of this week, just over ten percent of K-12 public school students will have started school. One of the major issues of the Fall is around district staffing and compensation challenges. Below we look at staffing trends for the upcoming year as presented in school budgets plus the increasing size of incentive payments that districts are using to attract and retain staff.

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By the end of this week, just over ten percent of K-12 public school students will have started school.   One of the major issues of the Fall is around district staffing and compensation challenges.   Below we look at staffing trends for the upcoming year as presented in school budgets plus the increasing size of incentive payments that districts are using to attract and retain staff.  


1. As part of Burbio's School Budget Tracker service we are compiling detailed K-12 school budgets from across the country.   Staffing is displayed in different formats by districts, but below we show some representative examples.  In each, we note the highest level of growth is concentrated in various support services. 

First, Washington County School District, UT (p 24) presents a five year overview of changes in full time equivalent positions (FTEs).  In percentage terms the highest growth in staff count among identified categories since 2018-19 has been counselors (+ 41%) and teachers aides (+ 26%) with the "other" category growing by + 86%. Teachers aides FTE count increase will increase 11% in the coming year. 
Washington County UT Staffing
Next, Worcester Public Schools, MA (p. 192) presents year-over-year compensation expenses.  Worcester brought their busing service in-house, which explains the big jump in the transportation line items.  Outside of transportation, note that the largest increases in staff costs are Non-Instructional Support Salaries (+ 43.6%), School Nurses (+ 27.6%), Educational Support (+ 27.5), and Classroom Substitutes (+ 19.7%).  
Worcester MA Staffing p 192
Suffolk Public Schools, VA (p. 30) details a three year trend.  The district added a Chief position which resulted in a large percentage increase off a low base.  Setting that aside, the "Operative" category (+ 29.78% over one year and + 69% over two years) refers to food service personnel and represents the highest increase.   School Nurse (+ 25.6%) is the second highest category.  If we combine the "Teachers Assistant" and "Teachers Assist/part-time" categories it blends to a + 21% increase year-over-year and represents the third highest total. 
Suffolk Public Schools VA - no benefits

Fulton County Schools, GA (p. 385) presents a summary showing a slight increase in headcount in school support, professional staff, and school administration, and a decrease in teachers.  Fulton's budget has a series of very clear graphical presentations previous to this chart that explains teacher headcount is increasing slightly (1.48%) at the high school level and declining at the middle school (-0.85%) and elementary school (-2.07%) level. 

Fulton County GA Staffing p 382
2. Over the course of the last year we have noted extensive use of incentives to attract staff by districts.  In the past few weeks we have noted a marked increase in the size and duration of these payments. Below are examples from across eleven states. 
  • Taos Municipal Schools, NM is offering a $10K "hiring incentive" and $50K starting salary to attract new teachers.   Gallup-McKinley County Schools, NM is providing signing incentives of between $18,000 and $22,000 to new teachers, plus relocation expenses of $2,500 to $4,500.  
  • Hartford Public Schools, CT is offering signing bonuses of $5,000 for teachers in such in-demand areas as mathematics, science, bilingual, technology education, and languages, plus a variety of health positions. 
  • Newport News Public Schools, VA is offering a $6,000 signing bonus to teachers who accept a position by October 2022. 
  • Lafayette Parish School System, LA has been offering $5,000 recruitment bonuses for teachers at twelve select schools, as well as $5,000 returning stipends for teachers in those schools, in addition to $4,000, retention bonuses paid over two years.  Ascension Public Schools, LA is offering $10,000 annual incentive pay for teachers of select subjects in the district's Donaldsonville Schools. 
  • Stanly County Schools, NC, a 22 school district, is offering $10,000 hiring incentives and has posted fifty open positions since June 30th.   Burke County Schools, NC, a 28 school district, is offering a $1,500 sign on bonus and currently listing over thirty open positions across all functions.
  • Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, CA announced a ten percent increase for teachers and staff retroactive to July 1st, 2021 and forward to July 1st, 2023. Eureka School District, CA announces a $10,000 signing bonus for bus drivers on their homepage. 
  • Lower Merion School District, PA is offering a $4,000 signing bonus for bus drivers.   
  • Jefferson County Public Schools, KY is offering $6 an hour of incentive pay, which represents a 28% increase off the hourly base rate, for bus drivers.
  • Fowler Elementary School District, AZ reports  "All Fowler Employees will receive an 8.5% raise this year, and all continuing employees will receive a 10% retention incentive (in two lump sums) . . . "
  • Beaufort County School District, SC  raised starting teachers salaries from $37,928 to $45,566, and added further incentives to take compensation to $50,066.  Combined with a previous retroactive raise of 3%, the district reports moving from being ranked 40th in the state to the top five in starting teacher salaries. 
  • Districts across Texas are adding retention bonuses into their annual agreements. Richardson ISD is providing up to a $2,000 stipend, Spring ISD is offering $2,000 retention bonuses to all employees plus performance bonuses to teachers that range from $2,000 to $5,000, and Killeen ISD is offering an 8% raise for teachers, stipends ranging between $5,000 and $7,500 for special education and bilingual teachers, plus a program that rewards teachers who have previously been at Killeen and return to teach in the district. 


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