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Texas Schools Recruiting Local Pink-Slipped Teachers Through Billboards

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

(Photo: Fort Worth Independent School District has put up billboards in San Diego to recruit local teachers who have received pink slips. Ana Tintocalis/KPBS )
A Texas school district is trying to recruit San Diego public school teachers who got layoff notices last month.  Local union leaders are worried many talented educators will leave for greener pastures. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has the story.

A large billboard stands at a busy intersection in Pacific Beach. It features a teacher helping a student. The slogan reads "Your future is in our classroom." That billboard was paid for by the Fort Worth Independent School District .

Fort Worth's Clint Bond says all the bad budget news in San Diego makes it a good place to find fresh talent. He says his district is offering a three-thousand dollar signing bonus to some teachers who want to make the switch to Texas. Bond hopes the incentives along with Fort Worth's low-cost of living will attract younger teachers in San Diego.
Bond: Cost of living is among the lowest in the nation. Housing is ample and affordable and we're hoping that might interest some people who are now faced with the decision in San Diego about whether they want to stay there under the current stresses that they are facing.  
Bond says the district also paid for billboards in Florida and Michigan. He says the district is aggressively recruiting teachers outside of Texas because it has to compete with 50 other nearby districts.   

San Diego teachers union leaders feel Fort Worth is just capitalizing on all the fears and bad school budget news in San Diego. President Camille Zombro says she's upset the school board has issued layoff notices instead of protecting its teachers.  

Zombro: I know what a great system we have here and how valuable it is. And when I see that other folks are coming in, watching the bleeding that happening here, and they're coming in to take away some of our talented and dedicated teachers, that just bodes very poorly for the future of our public education system.  

Forth Worth officials say they've received more than a dozen calls since the billboards went up. They say they plan to send recruiters here sometime this month.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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