San Diego Unified headquarters
The headquarters of the San Diego Unified School District. File photo

San Diego schools will strengthen efforts to recruit and retain educators for hard-to-staff positions under an agreement with the San Diego Education Association (SDEA) the district said this week.

The goal is for the San Diego Unified School District to help address a labor shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The district will offer $10,000 hiring incentives for special education and school nursing positions, under the tentative agreement with SDEA, pending ratification by both parties. 

“Together, we have reached an agreement that allows our schools to better support our students who are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic,” said Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, president of the district’s Board of Education. “This agreement allows us to recruit and retain the best and brightest to work at our schools while also recognizing the incredible work that our educators continue to do under difficult circumstances.”       

Meanwhile, San Diego Unified will hold a job fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at district headquarters, 4100 Normal St., with in-person job interviews for positions throughout the district. The jobs include transportation, teaching, clerical and food services.

The proposed deal announced by the district includes transfer and hiring incentives in special education and nursing, areas that have been particularly hard hit in the labor shortage.

Current educators who hold both a general education and special education credential and who transfer from a general education to a special education assignment through November will receive the $10,000 incentive.

New employees hired into a special education or nursing assignment for the upcoming school year also will receive a $10,000 incentive under the agreement.

Additionally, employees in active paid status will receive 4.5 percent of their annual base salary to be paid in ten equal installments during the 2022-2023 school year. 

“This agreement recognizes the hard work and commitment of educators as we continue to navigate challenging times together. It also strives to positively impact our students by helping retain and recruit in critically needed areas like special education and school nursing,” said Kyle Weinberg, vice president of SDEA.

According to the district, its labor relations team will continue to work with its other employee unions in talks regarding hard-to-staff positions within their respective units.