Economy

Nearly 300 teachers short, Killeen ISD offering sign-on bonus incentive

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) – New employees joining Killeen ISD are set to receive a sign-on bonus as the school district looks to fill its nearly 300 vacant teacher positions.

The KISD Board of Trustees Wednesday approved a recruitment incentive that would provide a one-time payment for new employees and retroactively for employees hired on or after September 1, 2021 and who remain employed until May 27, 2022.

The amount of the sign on bonus varies based on position. Full time profession employees, including certified teachers will receive $1,000. Part timers will receive $500. For full time hourly employees the bonus is $500 and part time hourly employees receive $250.

Killeen ISD, like many school districts across the state is experiencing a teacher shortage. The district has 2,874 teacher positions. As of Thursday 2,600 of those positions were full and 274 remained vacant meaning 10 percent of the district’s teaching positions are unfilled.

Other Central Texas schools like Waco ISD have smaller vacancy rates. Waco ISD has a 98.2% vacancy rate. 18 of its 991 teacher positions are vacant.

Temple ISD’s vacancy rate is the lowest of the three at 99.5%. Only 3 of its 621 teaching positions are vacant.

“The number of vacancies in the aggregate is really concerning. we are going to have to get creative in the future in how we incentivize and bring teachers to the profession of teaching,” said Killeen ISD superintendent John Craft.

KISD, in a news release said first year teachers have a starting salary at $52,000. Current Killeen ISD teacher Jennifer Lee who has been with the district for 11 years said while the incentive is great, it won’t solve the shortage. She believes external forces have changed legislation and social perceptions of the teaching the profession.

“Teachers have gone from pandemic heroes to ‘they’re trying to indoctrinate our kids’. Lawmakers have sown so much distrust in education and there’s so many more responsibilities that have been added on. When you think about it actually the last thing I get to do at the end of the day is teach,” said Lee.

In addition to classroom teachers, KISD is hiring classroom aides, custodians, bus drivers, certified police officers, nurses, school nutrition workers, librarians and counselors. For a full list of available openings visit our website: https://www.killeenisd.org/apply_now

Retirees are eligible to receive recruitment incentive without one year separation, as long as they’ve already submitted TRS retirement paperwork to the District.

Written by Rosemond Crown

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