ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – When it comes to recruiting new teachers, local Idea schools are ponying up some big bucks in the form of sign-on bonuses and stipends, but school leadership says they have a lot more to offer than just that.

There are plenty of teachers in training at Odessa’s Idea Yukon campus but the school still needs more. That’s why they’re offering $2500 sign-on bonuses for special education teachers and stipends ranging from $1800 to $3000 for state-certified teachers, grades 3 and up. But that’s not all.

“For our special education teacher residents, we are going to pay for almost all of your certification program so that you don’t have to foot that bill yourself, and you can get certified, do your residency here, and be ready to go your second year,” said Midland/Odessa Idea Executive Director Bethany Solis.

Idea Public Schools is offering these perks because there’s a lot of competition when it comes to recruiting new teachers, and that’s because many other local schools and schools across the country are in the same boat.

“We’ve always had a tremendous need for teachers. COVID, the recent wave of resignations, and national teacher shortages have really just exacerbated the challenge,” said Solis.

But many local teachers in training are stepping up to meet that challenge like Timothy Anthony Lindsay, who says now is the time to make the plunge if you’ve been considering a career in education.

“I’d tell anyone who’s interested to come on down. Everything that I’ve been learning here at Idea has been foundational for how I’m going to start the semester,” said Lindsay.

Idea isn’t alone when it comes to bringing in new teachers. The Midland Independent School District didn’t reveal specifics, but told ABC Big 2 News that they’ve seen benefits from focusing on retention and innovative staffing strategies.

The Ector County Independent School District says they’ve seen success by offering the highest starting teacher pay in the area, paying for certification, and offering teacher incentive allotments for educators whose students show substantial growth.