A rural school district in Utah is offering teachers an $80,000 salary in order to increase retention after suffering through a massive turnover rate the last few years.
Montezuma Creek Elementary near the Utah-Colorado border has some unusual working conditions to say the least. The school is in a remote area near the four corners, and struggles with extreme poverty, high rates of absenteeism, homelessness, and substance abuse. Subsequently, the school sees an extremely high turnover rate amongst its teachers.
Three years ago, the school district implemented a system to pay higher salaries to veteran educators that are selected as “lead teachers.” These $80,000 salaries for the lead teachers have worked, as all but one have remained at the school. Plus, not only has teacher retention improved, student achievement has as well.
The program was launched with a grant, and now officials are looking to expand the system into other schools in the San Juan school district.