SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Back to school is just weeks away and some districts like San Juan Unified still need staff.

Now, San Juan Unified is offering up $2,000 in a signing bonus to get teachers in the classroom.

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“I got hired on the spot,” said Yadiri Ortega.

Ortega walked out of the district office with a new job and a little more cash in her wallet. She got hired at her alma mater and snagged that signing bonus to go along with it. It’s a moment she calls “full circle.”

“I want to give back to those students and I see a lot of students and they’re always welcoming me or happy to see a teacher in the area,” Ortega said.

Staff is needed at the district before school starts next month—especially instructional aides. So the district hopes to hire 300 people during this job fair this Saturday and the next.

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“It’s like Christmas when you do recruitment fairs in human fairs. Just seeing those happy faces—that they’re going to have a job, that they’re going start a new career, it’s just excitement,” said Diana Marshall with the San Juan Unified School District.

Arlington Heights Elementary Principal Rafael Martinez says he’s seen more parents walking in to apply to work at their kid’s school.

“Parents have learned how to educate their own children and now that has provided them an opportunity to enter education,” he said.

He calls it one upside of the pandemic—parents who had no prior experience now see teaching as a career option.

“Once their home every day with their own children in distance learning, they’ve learned how to be resourceful, they’ve learned how to reach out,” Martinez said.

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The district says it is also looking for plumbers, construction workers and groundskeepers there’s one more weekend of this recruitment fair next Saturday at the district office.

Marissa Perlman