RPS in talks of providing housing assistance for aspiring teachers

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Public School District 205, like public school districts across the state, are looking for ways to combat the teacher shortage.
At Tuesday’s meeting, board members were presented with a unique idea, to get more student teachers in RPS classrooms.

Providing housing assistance for aspiring teachers is one way the school district is attempting to combat the teacher shortage.

The board was pitched the idea— which would allot a monthly stipend of $750 for qualifying participants in the RPS year-long teaching program.
Recipients would need to sign a promisary note and commit to work in the district for two years after completing the aspiring teachers program.
School officials say because many student teaching jobs are unpaid, educators from outside the Rockford area cannot afford to make the move without some form of assistance.
Chief Human Resources Officer Matt Zediker believes the stipend will not only attract new teachers, but retain them for years to come.

“We feel like we have a really good story to tell in Rockford and so if we can get them here and develop relationships, we feel like we’re going to keep them which will help with that teacher shortage that we have,” he said.

The board will vote on the issue at the next meeting. If the idea moves forward, aspiring teachers would live near each other in existing condos and apartments.
Zediker says funding would not impact taxpayers.
The program could begin as soon as July 1 of this year.

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