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We are entering the educator recruiting season. Each year as February, March and April approach we know we need to get back out on the trail and look for great educators (teachers, principals, counselors, and other specialty educators). Terry Jackson, the Box Elder Assistant Superintendent over Human Resources actually already has been to Weber State University Teacher Fair and interviewed prospective school administrators in conjunction with Cache School District and Logan School District over in Logan.
With a certificated staff of approximately 600 employees there is an anticipation that there will be people leaving Box Elder as the school year comes to an end this spring. Knowing this we are gearing up to go out and get the very best educators out there we can to come back and become a part of our wonderful community.
When a school district recruits there are many factors that we try to share with prospective employees. We sell all of the amenities that a community has to offer and the location in proximity to the great things that are available. I truly believe that in this area we have a lot to sell. I love the location in which we all live. We can share with prospects the chance to live in a rural setting or live in the middle of two of our bigger cities. You can move around here in Box Elder without the incredibly heavy traffic that you have deal with on a daily basis on the Wasatch Front and even over in Cache Valley. Yet within a 45-60 minute drive you can participate in any of the wonderful events that occur in the Greater Salt Lake City area.
To influence a possible employee we talk about the culture of the school district and more specifically the culture of the building they may be teaching in. Currently Box Elder School District is taking a hard look at how to bring about the best culture of educator/staff appreciation as we possibly can. We are working with the O.C. Tanner Company (an international company that deals in rewards and recognition) to help us find ways to recognize and reward the value in employees. We are learning all of the intricacies of how to best build a culture of respect, trust, recognition, and reward. We are doing our very best to walk the walk not just talk the talk about valuing our great employees.
With all of the improvement in these areas the Box Elder School District still has an issue that makes recruiting more difficult. Two of the school districts that we border and compete with for educator talent pay more to teachers than we do. Our demographics are such that we are not able to pay as much and it is hurting our recruiting and retention of great teachers. There are couple of state initiatives that are possibly going to help with this issue. One is a bill that is being proposed to try to equalize the local property tax between school districts. This bill alone would help Box Elder School District to offer a little more to our staff. The second item is a state wide campaign by business leaders throughout the state to raise both state income tax and sales tax by .45%. This initiative is called “Our Schools Now”. The beginning of that effort is occurring right now with an effort in the state to get enough signatures to have this initiative placed on the 2018 November Ballot to let the people decide if they would like to raise their own taxes to help improve education. One local possibility to help get salaries up and more competitive is to have what is called a voted leeway. This brings the possibility of raising property taxes to the tax payers in the form of a vote. The Box Elder Board of Education has made a commitment that they will look at all possibilities to increase salaries. If after all the efforts made do not result in competitive salaries the Board will then come to the tax payers in the form of a voted leeway initiative in the November 2019 election.
A great teacher in the classroom is of the utmost importance to the educational success of a child. The Box Elder Board of Education knows this and has directed me and the administrative staff of Box Elder School District to do all we can to see that take place. I can assure we are doing all we can. Currently we have great certificated and support staff in this great school district and we are doing all we can to build a great culture to ensure them all staying and being a productive part of the great effort to help educate the students of Box Elder County.