Lawmakers end Teacher Employee Retention Program, Department of Education seeking salary raises to fight teacher shortage

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – The end is in sight for a program aimed at providing relief for the teacher shortage in South Carolina.

In 2012, lawmakers passed an act that ends an incentive allowing retired educators to return to work.

That comes in addition to a law change, which keeps retirees from cashing their retirement checks if they earn more than $10,000 dollars a year. Now thousands of teachers have no reason to stay in the classroom.

Hiring educators has been a challenge for districts across the Palmetto State.

“We do have a teacher shortage in South Carolina,” said South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman.

Currently, more than 4,000 teachers are back in the classroom through the Teacher Employee Retention Incentive Program, also known as TERI.

Through TERI educators eligible for retirement can do just that, but are able to return to work 30 days later. It’s one tool to keep teachers for an extra 5 years. TERI allows educators to draw a salary and receive a pension simultaneously.

Now that the program is dead, the state is going to have to work overtime to hire qualified candidates to teach students.

Spearman says a task force did an evaluation to help the South Carolina Department of Education figure out a way to recruit teachers.

“One is we have to offer more competitive salaries,” Spearman told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Spearman says she’s asked for a 2 percent raise for all teachers, in addition to the yearly 2 percent raise, and a 6 percent raise for new hires.

“That is a piece of it. It is not the only thing,” Spearman said. “We know that teachers need good support and that comes through great leaders, great principals in the schools being well-trained.”

The average salary of a new teacher in South Carolina ranges from $32,000 dollars to $42,000 dollars.

Teachers currently receive a 2 percent raise each year.

Aiken County Public Schools is holding a teacher and administrator recruitment event on Saturday, February 24, 2018.

Registration for interested teachers closes next Friday, February 16, 2018.

Aiken County Public Schools is looking for innovative, highly effective future employees to join the district on its path to a premier school district and is getting an early start on recruitment efforts and placements for the 2018-2019 school year by hosting its largest recruitment event of the year.

Event registration is required and is available electronically at AppliTrack.com/Aiken/OnlineApp/.

Candidates interested in being interviewed for administrative positions on-site at the event should register by February 2, event/interview registration will close for prospective teachers on February 16.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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