ATTRACTING NEW TEACHERS
Lake Havasu Unified School district is experiencing a monumental loss of teachers. Much of this is directly caused by pay inequities and now perhaps more importantly health and benefits costs.
But that isn't the entire story. I would like to posit a theory and potential solution for the district to consider.
Young, single, upwardly mobile teaching graduates are no different than other young single professionals. While we older residents and those with established families find Lake Havasu a paradise with boating, 4 wheeling, and numerous parks and family recreation venues; for the single professionals there is no competition with Laughlin, Las Vegas, Dallas, etc. It only takes a disparity in pay or benefits to lure them into the communities with a more friendly (or wild) night life with other singles in plenty.
I propose that, maybe, we should be more focused in our recruiting. With a median age of 53 Lake Havasu has leaned toward facilities and activities more oriented toward retirees and established families. But, there is an answer that might not solve all of the problems, but could lend some relief.
Every year thousands of teachers and administers retire from school districts throughout the country. These are seasoned and competent educators who are about to enjoy their later years. They have earned a healthy retirement check and still have many fine years of productivity ahead of them. In addition, we have MCAS, Yuma and MCAS 29 Palms nearby and a program called "Troops to Teachers" provides a stipend to any military member becoming a teacher under the program. Many of these are, as I was, already retired one time and still have 20 or 30 good years to serve the district.
Even the successful recruitment of 20 individuals falling in these categories would provide a foundational support to ensure consistency in the educational efforts. The really nice part is that these are individuals who meld seamlessly with the lifestyle of Lake Havasu and having an additional revenue source are less likely to abandon ship.
This is just a thought, but it is the type of initiative we need to examine as we forge ahead. The bond will yield us a brief respite; but without changing our paradigm we will find ourselves in the same position when the next crisis hits.
Just a thought from a "Grumpy Old Man"