The lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – and the emergence of new variants – resulted in a shortage of educators at the start of 2022.
The Cullman City (CCS) and Cullman County (CCBOE) school districts resolved the issues by approving a temporary pay increase from $75 a day to $125 for the duration of the 2021-2022 school year.
“This new [Covid] The variant has hit us hard, not only with our students, but also with our employees,” CCS Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff told The Times in February.
Almost a month after the announcement of this increase, the CCS was able to add 30 additional names to its database of substitute teachers.
At the state level, Governor Kay Ivey has proposed that a 4% pay raise for educators be included in the state’s unprecedented $8.3 billion education budget. House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels – of Huntsville – was “disappointed” with the governor’s proposal, saying “anything less than 5% is a waste of time”.
After taking effect in October, the state budget gave teachers with less than nine years of experience a 4% salary increase, those with more experience received between 5 and 21% depending of their term of office.
Salary increases will now also be received annually instead of every three years.
In addition to salary increases provided by the state budget, CCS has implemented its own “1 million dollar investment” by adding an additional 1% salary increase to all employees – including workers in child nutrition, babysitters and special education aides – plus signing bonuses, and substitute pay was set at $100 a day.
“These are very difficult positions to fill for us: guards, agents and cafeteria of the CNP (Child Nutrition Program), special education assistants. These are positions we advertise for and we just don’t get a lot of applications. and the reason is that it’s hard to compete with that same skill level employee [elsewhere] in the community,” Kallhoff explained. “Some companies pay a lot more than we pay, and we’ll get to that later. We just can’t answer it right now. But what we can do now is offer a $1,500 incentive to try and get them to join us.
The CCBOE worked to attract the best educators by hosting its first career fair in April, attracting the attention of educators across the region. Meghan Black – a teacher from Mississippi – heard about the event from friends and told The Times she was looking forward to seeing what the district has to offer.
“All I heard was that this district is just amazing to work for, and I’m at a time in my life where I was ready for a change, so it was a pretty easy decision.” , Black said.
CCBOE Superintendent Shane Barnette said that as the district continues to improve its test scores and graduation rates, the ability to attract the best teachers available is critical to continued success.
“It gets harder to find educators every year, and with all the improvements we’ve made over the years, it’s become one of the premier systems in the state. So we want to compete for the best. We are only as good as the educators in our classrooms,” Barnette said.
Patrick Camp can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238