Washington Superintendent proposes giving educators hiring bonuses to reduce turnover

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington State Superintendent Chris Reykdal submitted a proposal to the Governor and Legislature that will support educators and reduce turnover rates.

Reykdal’s budget proposal would provide hiring bonuses for positions that are harder to fill, increase the salaries for all school employees to adjust for inflation, address inequities in the current school funding model, and fund neighboring school districts in areas with higher costs of living.

It aims to support recruiting and retaining a diverse educator workforce with competitive salaries that reflect current economic conditions.

“Our educators are critical to the fabric of our school communities,” Reykdal said. “High rates of teacher turnover have proven impacts on students’ academic success, as well as on feelings of connection and stability among teachers within the school. This proposal aims to reduce teacher turnover and more equitably fund our school districts.”

Schools are currently funded through a model which uses student enrollment numbers and the cost of living in the community to determine staffing levels. Legislature also provides an “experience factor” through a four-percent increase in funding for school districts whose educators have above-average years of experience and advanced degrees.

Reykdal’s proposal would expand eligibility for the experience factor to districts whose educators have more experience or have more advanced degrees, instead of both.

It would also provide a one-time, $10,000 hiring bonus to special education teachers, and a one-time, $5,000 hiring bonus to instructional and administrative staff at eligible high-poverty schools. It also includes annual bonuses for teachers and paraeducators working in dual language education programs.

Additionally, it would provide a six-percent increase to base salaries for all school employees.

“I applaud the Legislature for their commitment to regularly examining the state’s salary allocation model for school employees to ensure it’s still reflecting current economic conditions and meeting the needs of our state,” Reykdal said. “I look forward to working with them on the details of this proposal.”

Reykdal’s proposal will be up for consideration in the 2023 Legislative Session.

READ: ‘It’s been a barrier’: State superintendent plans to reduce cost of dual credit classes