Local News

Schools Offer Free Water, Garbage to Attract Teachers

Posted August 17, 2007

— School administrators are in a race against the clock to fill vacant positions as opening day approaches. And smaller school systems must compete with bigger ones that can offer bigger bucks.

Wake County's lowest starting salary is $3,000 higher than Halifax County's highest, but one of the county's three school systems is getting creative to attract teachers.

With a little more than a week before the start of school, Weldon City Schools Superintendent Elie Bracy III spent time going over job applications. Weldon had three openings, but hiring hasn’t always been the easiest task.

“Because of our size, we don’t have a large influx of money that’s coming in,” Bracy said.

The Weldon City Schools have a little over 1,000 students and is the third-smallest district in the state.

Bracy has some help, however. The town of Weldon is offering an incentive to any new teachers who sign on: three months of free water, garbage collection and other utilities.

“New people coming to town and young teachers and whatever, they need every little bit of help they can to get started,” said Weldon Mayor Johnny Draper.

The Halifax County School System also had challenges. It had 25 spots left to fill.

“Halifax County is one of those counties that does not have the local dollars to offer the incentives that even some of the surrounding counties can offer to new teachers,” said Selma Allen, with Halifax County schools.

Weldon and Halifax County both offer the minimum salary required for starting teachers. It’s not just about getting teachers to come to rural counties and towns; it’s also about getting them to stay.

Among Roanoke Valley schools, there was a 10 percent to 15 percent turnover rate this year for the total teacher population.

In an environment where bigger school systems offer bigger salaries, Bracy said Weldon's plan to offer new teachers a break on services gives him a bargaining point to bring to the table.

40 Comments

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  • Sara Lee Aug 18, 2007

    Here are a few quick links I found on teacher forgiveness programs:

    teacher loan fogiveness: http://www.studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/cancelstaff.jsp

    for hs seniors looking to teach: http://www.teachingfellows.org/theprogram/

    legislation for school counselors: http://www.schoolcounselor.org/content.asp?contentid=131

  • MizzZeta Aug 18, 2007

    sallysmom, we had a program like that at my high school in Charlotte (almost 20 years ago). Students who participated earned credit towards a two-year degree in child development from the community college. Unfortunately, legal/liability issues forced the program to close.

  • sallysmom Aug 18, 2007

    hawk_fan,
    While teaching in VA, I taught at school where there was a child development program of study. Junior and senior students (under the close supervision of teachers and aides) learned about child development while running a not-for-profit daycare within the school. Anyone in the community could send their kids there if they paid. Teachers (and students, btw...though I never knew a student who did so) could send thier kids there for free and visit them during the day. It was a very popular, very well-run program. I'd love to see that at my high school.

  • grenlyn1 Aug 18, 2007

    NCTeacher, you have my upmost repsect. I say with confidence that the $150 you would have saved in your first three months would be spent on school supplies in order to do your job. It's a no win situation for teachers in which we all agree. Yes, you mention loan payback incentives but these programs have strings attached to them. Contracts etc...A teacher would need to work in a Title I school and have the super-intendant sign off for her to take advantage of this program you mention. I have heard teachers say it's impossible to get this benefit. Only a chosen few will ever get the opportunity to be a part of this program. In the news we hear NC is nearing a crisis with an increase of students and not enough teachers. NOW is the time for the DOE to open up their pocketbooks and begin chewing the fat. Give these teachers something tangible to hold onto. Give them what is due to them. Show more appreciation for their work. That is what we are saying. :)

  • tulips4445 Aug 18, 2007

    Halifax County has 3 school districts within the county. Why not combine these instead of paying 3 sets of salaries for admin. That would cut out a lot of waste. Then stop hiring contractors to fill out paperwork that 2 state agencies will help complete for free.

  • hawk_fan Aug 18, 2007

    I student-taught in a school system that offered free daycare for the children of teachers who lived in the district. The daycare was part of the child development program at the local community college. The elementary, middle school, high school and community college shared the same campus and all were within walking distance. The district had very little turnover and a waiting list of interested teachers.

  • claudnc Aug 18, 2007

    NC teacher - please pass along the info about the repayment of student loans. I know of several programs all say you have to be in the classroom and as counselor I do not qualify for that. PLUS, they ask that you are in a VERY rural area or a large city that has the problems such as Newark, NJ. There is no where in NC that fits this description except one or two very rural places and I wouldnt go. I know a fellow teacher from weldon and he swears there is nothing there at all but trees. He states there is no commerce - there is a hardee's and a small diner. There is no McDonalds or Walmart and there is no where to work, except those places. I can just remember when my sister's husband was in the military and they qualified for food stamp. Yep the military pays nothing and if you have a family you qualify for food stamps until you are like a E-4. They worked and still qualified for stamps. Matter fact she was a teachers assistant and he was in the military!

  • lockinlady Aug 18, 2007

    Some of you just don't have a clue. The suggestion to cut welfare and pay more to the teachers in Halifax County is a likely response. Take away a first grader's food stamps and turn his lights off. Brilliant. Then tell his mother to get a job in a county where the best paying job is sweeping up trash on the county's payroll, and 30 people are in line for that same job. That is THE ANSWER for raising test scores.

  • djofraleigh Aug 18, 2007

    Here's some garbage and a glass of water, FREE.

    This could have been presented in a prettier sounding package.

  • NCTeacher Aug 18, 2007

    For all of you that know exactly how to get more and better teachers- put your money where your mouth is and get into school administration. Don't just armchair quarterback this thing- DO something about it.

    Personally- with a starting teacher salary- ANY bill that someone else offers to pay is a huge help. 3 months of water and trash costs me approximately $150. Talk bad about it all you want to, but that is $150 I can put towards something else and is greatly appreciated.

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