PHOENIX (AP) — A Texas school district has placed advertisements on Phoenix billboards in an attempt to recruit Arizona teachers to a city with higher pay.
The Fort Worth Independent School District has rented five digital billboards in Phoenix that advertise a starting teacher salary of $52,000. The billboards went live on Monday and will stay up for a month.
The Fort Worth district is targeting veteran teachers looking for a change as well recent graduates seeking their first teaching job, said Clint Bond, a district spokesman. The district, which serves about 86,000 students and has more than 10,000 employees, has up to 800 job openings.
The district is looking for teachers in both Oklahoma and Arizona, the sites of recent statewide protests over teacher pay. Arizona lawmakers approved a plan to hike teacher salaries after a six-day walkout by educators that shut down most schools statewide. The teachers’ effort secured a 20 percent pay raise over three years from lawmakers and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.
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“That was the kind of passion, the kind of commitment, the kind of dedication to students we were looking for,” Bond said.
Arizona was once a state that offered competitive salaries, drawing in teachers from outside the state, Arizona Education Association Vice President Marisol Garcia told KPNX-TV.
“We are losing and bleeding teachers to places like Fort Worth,” Garcia said.
An offer of higher pay outside the state might be too good pass off, Garcia said.
“It might be a big chance to make money for your family,” Garcia said.
In a statement from the governor office, a spokesperson said the state is working to retain teachers and districts are beginning to approve teacher raises.
“It’s no surprise Texas is after our teachers. They are the best in the country. Gov. Ducey wants to do everything we can to keep great teachers here in the state of Arizona,” the governor’s office said.