Ulysses school district comes up with plan to recruit, retain teachers

ULYSSES, Kan. Recruiting teachers can be difficult for school districts, especially in Western Kansans.

"We're having trouble getting teachers, especially out in southwest Kansas. It can be a challenge," Ulysses school district superintendent David Younger says.

To gain an advantage in the uphill battle, the Ulysses school district thought of a solution.

"We came up with an idea. Let's start a teacher-recruitment fund through the Grant County Community Foundation," Younger says.

The Ulysses school district only has about 100 teachers and the district is about 10 short of what it needs. The average starting salary for a teacher in the district is about $41,000. To attract prospective teachers to choose Ulysses, the district also plans to help new teachers pay off their student loans.

"What's another step we can take? And we thought, 'well, if we can pay you know, $75 or $150 a month on these loans, that might entice some kids to (say), 'hey, we want to teach in Ulysses,'" Younger says. Because we've always felt once we get them here, we got it pretty good. But we got to get people out to Ulysses and see what we're all about."

The Ulysses school district is looking to hire 10 new teachers for the upcoming school year to meet its need.