RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Public Schools are taking a big step when it comes to finding new teachers for the upcoming school year. 

The Richmond School Board recently approved new hiring incentives in an effort to address a shortage in school staff across the city. 

The school division currently has more than 150 teacher vacancies, but hopes to lower that number with a new bonus incentive specifically for new teachers going into what the board calls “hard to fill” schools.  

“Monday evening my colleagues and I, in concert with the superintendent, adopted an approach that we in a preliminary way have already had a lot of success” Richmond School Board member Jonathan Young said. “Specifically, we have increased compensation for teachers by 30%.” 

Young says under the new incentive, a teacher will receive a $4,000 signing bonus if they decide to go to a school where a large number of employees have been leaving.

Those schools include Henderson Middle, Carver Elementary School, Martin Luther King Middle School and River City Middle School, to name a few.  

Young says that schools with high vacancies employ roughly one-fourth of all Richmond Public School teachers.   

“We lose on average 22% of our teachers year over (the) year,” Young added. “Last year, more than 550 teachers departed Richmond Public Schools.”  

Young also says that the board wants to make sure that they acknowledge their educators and show teachers that school leaders are appreciative of what they do.  

“We acknowledge that compensation is, at the risk of stating the obvious, a really important variable,” Young said. “A bonus is a small way for us to say thank you for signing up to teach, particularly those places that often are our most hard to staff schools.”

The new bonuses will go into effect on June 1. 

8News reached out Henrico and Chesterfield Schools to see if they are doing anything to recruit more teachers, but have not received a response.