RPS superintendent taskforce looks to improve working conditions for teachers, staff
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Fresh off his bus route, Daniel Farina says switching careers from transporting products to transporting children was easy. He’s a new hire for Richmond Public Schools.
“We have four children, so... scheduling-wise, it kind of works for us. The flexibility. I’m able to get off at a certain time and be able to pick my kids up,” said Farina, RPS bus driver.
Farina, an RPS graduate, says better pay from the division was another factor.
“They actually went up on the pay, so that works. Every job has its pros and cons, but it’s all in how you want to handle it, how you want to deal with it,” said Farina.
RPS is now offering some of the boldest pay incentives in the state: A $6,000 moving stipend for those moving from more than 50 miles away.
Teachers with more than two years of experience going into certain fields will get a $4,000 sign-on bonus, and new teachers will receive a $2,000 signing bonus.
The division currently has 222 open positions, a majority of them for teachers but also counselors, bus drivers and other staff.
“I want to be clear that’s about much more than money. Great teachers go into teaching and stay in teaching because of their love for kids. And one of the reasons that we lose folks is because of school climate and culture issues, working conditions, lots of things beyond just pay,” said Jason Kamras, RPS superintendent.
Kamras says he’s creating a task force now to tackle the issues beyond pay. This fall, the superintendent says they want to look at reducing time teachers collect data as well as create opportunities for innovation and growth.
RPS also gave current employees a $3,000 bonus in the spring. They’ll get another grand bonus in the fall.
“It’s a testament to how seriously we are taking this. We really want to lead in the commonwealth,” said Kamras.
RPS teachers start back on Aug. 19, with students returning on Aug. 29.
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