School district offers $7,500 signing bonus to fill teacher vacancies

PATERSON, N.J. — A school district is hoping to entice teachers to fill open positions by offering a $7,500 signing bonus.

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The policy to offer the money in exchange for a teacher remaining in the K-12 district for at least two years was adopted Wednesday night by the Paterson School District’s school board, reported.

The district currently has more than 100 teaching positions open, with the majority of open jobs available in special education, WNBC reported.

“We all understand that one vacancy is too much. We were at 125 on Sept. 1. It has creeped up to 135 as of today,” Luis Rojas, an assistant superintendent, told the board Wednesday.

The sign-on and retention bonus requires teachers to remain in the district for two years. The first half of the bonus will be given when the teacher signs with the district for the job, and the second half will be given when they return next September, the district told WNBC.

“We are hoping to attract some teachers that ultimately are looking to switch from their current locations,” Rojas told News12.

The founder of NJ School Jobs, Todd Lawrence, told WHYY that his site has more than 5,000 openings at schools across the state, ranging from support staff — like secretaries and custodians — to superintendents.

The Newark School District, which is the largest in New Jersey, announced in June that new hires in “critical areas,” which include mathematics, science, special education, bilingual education and English as a second language, will be eligible for $4,000 signing bonuses, reported.