The Houston Independent School District is looking to recruit more teachers from North Carolina.
Recruiters first visited in May, where they made 12 on-the-spot offers and later hired about 8 more teachers, according to Shaleah Reed, a spokesperson from HISD.
The district is offering $49,100 as a starting salary. North Carolina’s starting salary is among the lowest in the nation at $30,800.
“You know, you want a teacher who’s motivated by the urge and desire to really change lives with classroom instruction, that’s what we’re looking for,” says Reed. “And salary, it’s like icing on the cake.”
Reed says district leaders have been following conversations in North Carolina about the stagnant, low teacher pay. The district’s superintendent, Terry Grier, is a former superintendent of Guilford County Schools.
The Houston Independent School District is currently trying to hire critical shortage positions in fields like science, technology, math and special education.
They held a job fair in Raleigh on Wednesday and plan told two more in Greensboro and Charlotte on Thursday and Friday.
Lawmakers have criticized Houston’s efforts, arguing that teachers shouldn't be motivated to leave North Carolina for better pay.
“Why in the world would someone from North Carolina want to go down there? If it's just salary, then they'll be back....real soon,” says Republican Senator Tom Apodaca from Hendersonville.
Lawmakers are currently negotiating a state budget that they say will offer large, competitive raises.