Dothan City Schools

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Dothan City Schools may be increasing the signing bonus offered to incoming math, science and special-education teachers if the school board approves the recommendation at its next meeting Monday.

A few years ago, former Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter recommended the signing bonus start at $1,000 for math and science teachers, but Superintendent Phyllis Edwards created a set $2,000 incentive when she took office. Recently, she recommended extending the offer to special-education teachers as well.

“We’ve got to be competitive,” Darius McKay, principal of Dothan Preparatory Satellite and Special Projects Campus, said at a school board work session Thursday. “We’ve got to be in the ballpark of what everyone else is offering.”

McKay said surrounding districts are offering from $5,000 to $7,500, and the shortage of college students graduating in those programs regionally and nationally are making it difficult for systems to hire and retain those teachers.

Edwards said at the meeting that her staff believes the current rate is not enough and wants to raise the amount of the bonus from $2,000 to $5,000 ahead of prime recruiting time.

Stipulations for the bonus call for $2,500 to be paid upon completion of three months’ work and the rest to be paid in the May check. Failure to complete the school year will result in a prorated amount being withheld from the final paycheck.

Based on prior years’ rate of hire for new teachers in this area, an estimated $200,000 will be required to fund the initiative.

The motion is anticipated to be voted on at Monday’s regularly scheduled board meeting at 5 p.m. at the new central office at the former Honeysuckle school building.

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