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Officials See Increase In Number Of Teacher Applications

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s a big boost in the number of teacher applications at city school headquarters.  School leaders say one reason might be the new teachers’ contract, but as Gigi Barnett explains, there may be a number of factors at play.

Last November, Baltimore City teachers voted on a groundbreaking contract that changed the way they’re paid, allowing some of them to earn a six-figure salary.  The nation watched as teachers approved the contract.  Now the number of applications to become a teacher in Baltimore is up dramatically.

“We’re close to 600 applications for the last quarter of last year,” said one official.

That’s up from about 300 applications this time last year.  It’s a 100 percent boost.  Even the number of teachers who have put in for retirement is down by 35 percent.

Shawn Stokes runs the district’s recruiting office.  She says her office can pick the best teachers now because of the new contract.

“We like it when there’s plenty of applicants,” Stokes said.

The new contract pays teachers based on the extra training they receive outside the classroom.  They can move up the pay scale quicker than some other school districts.

But experts say it’s the sluggish economy that’s caused an increase in applications everywhere.

Union president Marietta English says that wouldn’t cause a 100 percent boost.  Plus, she believes Baltimore is also attractive to teachers because Maryland has been ranked number one in education nationwide.

“We’re number one and then we have the salaries,” English said.  “That’s exciting.”

School leaders say they hire more elementary teachers than other grades.

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