SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The shortage of teachers in California has been hitting the state for years, with statistics showing more than 40 percent of teachers leave the field within five years.
Now there’s a new push at the state Capitol to reduce a shortage of teachers around the state.
The Sacramento City Unified School District is also taking matters into its own hands to reduce the shortage.
“The number of teachers interested in getting their credentials has dropped by half in recent years,” said SCUSD recruiter Tiffany Smith-Simmons.
The teacher shortage in California has made recruiters like Simmons scramble to find educators to fill teaching jobs and keep them.
“I reach out and even recruit from the Philippines,” Simmons said.
Simmons says the state is also having a hard time finding teachers for special education, math and world languages.
To try and reduce that gap, Simmons says the district opened a dual-credential program.
“It’s something to prepare teachers and something for them to fall back on if there are budget cuts,” Simmons added.
State lawmakers recently introduced Senate Bill 807 to recruit and retain teachers in California by offering certain incentives.
Teachers would get a tax credit to cover training costs while they are getting their credentials.
In addition, those who have been teaching for more than five years would be exempt from the state income tax.
“Teachers are the starting point,” said Bill Lucia, president of Edvoice.
Sponsors of the bill say it’s time lawmakers address the teacher shortage and bring the state’s education level up to par.
“Priorities need to be set first and foremost to make public education work for every kid across the state of California.”
There will be a hearing for the bill next week, and if the senate committee doesn’t strike it down, it will head to the Senate and the Assembly for consideration.