Aug 1, 2022 - News

Des Moines offers teachers $50k incentive to stay

Illustration of a hand in a business suit dangling a carrot.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Des Moines Public Schools is offering a $50,000 incentive to teachers, nurses and administrators who are nearing retirement to stay with the district through the 2022-2023 school year.

  • At least 58 have taken the offer according to records obtained by Axios.

Details: Recipients must be 60 years old by June 30, 2023 and have a minimum of 15 years at DMPS are eligible for the incentive.

  • They can also buy into the district's health insurance plan up to the age of 65.

Why it matters: Staffing shortages are being reported in districts across the nation, pushing some schools in other states to combine classes, eliminate elective courses and hire foreign instructors.

  • District CFO Shashank Aurora says retirement delays will help DMPS avoid taking more drastic measures.

Yes, but: With less than a month before classes begin, the district still has more than 50 teacher and at least 100 support staff vacancies.

  • It's possible that activities like Metro Kids, an after school program, may not be offered at some locations due to staffing, Phil Roeder, a district spokesperson, told Axios Friday.

State of play: There's an overall labor shortage that's driven partly by baby boomer retirements. Employers can no longer count on a flood of new workers to fill empty jobs.

By the numbers: There were more than 5,400 Iowa school jobs posted Friday, according to Teach Iowa, a service through the Iowa Department of Education.

  • More than 1,600 were for classroom teachers, including more than 100 in the Sioux City and Davenport metro areas.

Zoom in: More than 500 teachers resigned from DSM metro schools in recent months but DMPS has been the hardest hit.

  • West Des Moines, Waukee and Ankeny each had between three and nine active teacher listings as of Friday.

What's next: Hiring is ongoing. District officials will have a better idea of what services might get reduced or cut in the next week or so, Roeder said.


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