RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Richmond Public Schools (RPS) is facing a teacher shortage after 25% of the school system’s teaching staff resigned at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. As a result, RPS is now looking to fill 176 positions before the upcoming school year starts in August.

RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras announced at Monday evening’s school board meeting that RPS is launching recruiting activities, such as starting a teacher retention task force and partnering with teacher residency programs at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University.

“I agree we need to create incentives to keep and track experienced teachers,” Kamras said Monday night. “We are in a moment that requires extraordinary steps to meet extraordinary circumstances. That’s why I am moving forward with these incentives to help close the gaps over these next few weeks.” 

Kamras proposed a $10,000 incentive for new teachers, including $6,000 for relocating and $4,000 if the teacher fills a critical shortage area. RPS also offered a $3,000 teacher retention bonus in May and is now offering another $1,000 this fall.

Many vacancies are occurring in the middle schools, where 65 positions are open. Elementary schools are close behind with 63 openings and 45 for high schools.

Kamras said the money for the incentives and recruiting activities would come from the federal stimulus fund. If the staffing shortage is not resolved when the school year starts in August, RPS will hire substitutes, deploy licensed staff that is not currently assigned classrooms, and ultimately collapse classroom size.

Read more about our coverage of the RPS teacher shortage here.