Stockton Unified is offering up to $10,000 in signing bonuses for newly-hired teachers.

The district says there are dozens of opening as it has added more positions and seen more than 100 teachers retire this year.

“There is a shortage across the state,” Melinda Meza, SUSD director of communications, told Stocktonia Friday. “However, Stockton Unified is offering great incentives, bonuses and benefits that show teachers we care.”

The U.S. has long faced recurrent teacher shortages, but the problem has been exacerbated in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Learning Policy Institute. The National Center for Education statistics reports that nearly half of all public schools have reported full- or part-time teaching vacancies as of March.

Teacher shortages have caused school districts to initiate operational shifts, such as combining or canceling classes or enlisting teachers to cover additional duties, according to a RAND Corp. study.

California school districts have also followed the nationwide trend in struggling to fill teaching positions, according to EdSource. The state saw a 16% decrease in the number of new teachers credentialed last year.

Stockton Unified is offering signing bonuses for newly-hired teachers that range from $7,000 to $10,000, according to a press release. The district is also inviting people with bachelor’s degrees who may not have teaching credentials but are interested in teaching to apply, as the district has programs that allow teachers to earn their credentials as they work.

“We know that those who see our students at sites and in the classrooms have the greatest impact,” SUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez said in a statement. “We strive to bring quality staff in order to bring world class education for our students.”

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