Submitted by Tacoma Public Schools

In response to a statewide educator shortage and highly competitive hiring environment, Tacoma Public Schools is ramping up its hiring efforts to fill important positions by offering $250-$5,000 hiring bonuses.

The bonuses are funded by state Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.

Current employees are also now eligible to receive a $150 bonus for every candidate they refer and who is later hired into any district job.

Retirees are also eligible to receive a $250 bonus for returning.

Hiring bonuses are available for the following positions and amounts:

• Nurses ($5,000)
• LPNs ($3,500 for licensed)
• Bus drivers ($3,500 for CDL Class B certified, $2,500 for non-CDL Class B
• Paraeducators ($500)
• Bus monitors ($500)
• Nutrition services ($500). No high school diploma or GED is required. District offering incentives to obtain GED.
• Noon hour supervisors ($250)
• School support/contract tracing ($250)

$250 bonuses will be paid in the first paycheck. For bonuses $500 and above, half will be paid after 90 days of employment, and the other half will be paid at the end of the school year in June 2022.

Additionally, the district is seeking emergency substitute teachers and has temporarily changed the requirements so that more people are eligible. Emergency substitute teachers are now required to have an AA degree (as opposed to a bachelor’s degree). Substitute base pay has also increased to $200 per day. Eligible candidates must have at least five years of work or volunteer experience. Tacoma Public Schools continues to be one of the top-paying districts in the state, and the Human Resources Department reports a high retention rate for current employees.

The positions with hiring bonuses are traditionally hard to fill. The competitive hiring environment has further increased the challenge of recruiting for these positions. The district is hoping the bonuses incentivize strong candidates. Cabinet, Human Resources employees, and the school board are not eligible for employee referral bonuses.

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