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CMS tries to stave off out-of-state recruiters

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has long recruited out-of-state, but the district is now facing a stiff test itself. File photo from 2001.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has long recruited out-of-state, but the district is now facing a stiff test itself. File photo from 2001.

Prime teacher recruiting season is now underway, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will again face a strong challenge from out-of-state.

Recruiters from KIPP schools in Houston are in Charlotte this week to meet with teachers willing to move out to Texas. And the offer they’re getting illustrates the problem North Carolina faces in keeping people in the classroom.

Their schools are paying beginning teachers $47,400 per year. It would take 25 years of experience on the basic North Carolina salary scale to make that much. Gov. Pat McCrory hopes to boost entry-level teacher pay in North Carolina to $35,000 this year.

Of course, the out-of-state game goes both ways. A CMS job fair late last month drew significantly from Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania as well as the Carolinas. A total of 260 people were offered jobs on the spot, and more than 200 accepted.

But more than 100 teachers have already packed up from CMS and moved to other states to teach since July, according to data from the district’s chief human resources officer, Avery Mitchell. That might not seem like a lot compared to the 9,000+ teachers in CMS, but keep in mind that doesn’t include the heart of teacher recruiting season.

Mitchell said CMS is trying a few things to give teachers incentives to stay home.

The school district has extended its internal transfer period, which allows teachers to move to a new campus for “a better fit,” Mitchell said. This could be a school closer to home, or a subject they hoped to teach.

CMS is also strongly playing up its “opportunity culture” program, which pays teachers significantly more for taking on more leadership responsibilities while still in the classroom.

Texas school districts know this can be a hard sell. That’s why they keep coming back.

Dunn: 704-358-5235;

Twitter: @andrew_dunn

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