DCPS officials think recruitment strategies amid pension crisis
OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - We're hearing from Kentucky educators and future teachers on the recruitment process, just days after lawmakers rejected Governor Matt Bevin's school spending vetoes.
Daviess County Public School District hosted a teacher recruitment fair Tuesday at Burns Middle School, where dozens of applicants showed up.
With under-funded pensions and a newly approved 401-K style hybrid plan for new teachers, some wonder if future teachers will even want to apply in Kentucky.
As we told you last month, Republicans passed their controversial plan to overhaul Kentucky's pension systems without the public ever setting eyes on the bill. Within it, there are some big changes that affect aspiring teachers, like a less generous hybrid cash-balance plan instead of a pension.
Future teachers will now have to work longer before becoming eligible for retirement benefits.
The soon-to-be graduates we spoke to at the DCPS fair say the state's situation isn't going to stop them from doing what they love.
"For me, it's all about the kids, it's about their education it's about their learning," said USI student Alyssa Ralph English. "That's why I chose this profession. I'm going to be teaching for the rest of my life, and I'm 100% okay with that. It is important to put aside money for retirement and to have that and know what's going on. But, it's for the kids."
DCPS Assistant Superintendent Dr. Amy Shutt told us, the state's deficit won't have an immediate impact on recruitment, since students have already invested in their college degrees. But, she says it might a few years from now..
"They're looking for their first job, and so they will accept their hybrid," said Dr. Shutt. "We tried to fight for them to have the same thing we have (in Frankfort," she said. "The struggle will be those students who are a year, a year and a half away from becoming teachers. They will be the ones who decide whether or not the pension really plays into their decision whether or not to continue on into the profession."
The changes are no doubt on the minds of school officials, who will be forced to come up with new strategies to recruitment talented teachers.
"It is one were we have to think about, how do we recruit differently, and how do we recruit early," Dr. Shutt said. "How do we get people to stay in love with the profession? It's not about the money, it's about what you get out of it everyday."
By the way, we checked the number of teacher openings across the commonwealth as of Tuesday. Kentucky Department of Education lists 1,087 teacher job openings.
That's 145 percent more openings than Indiana.
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