Dozens of teachers on Thursday attended a recruiting fair hosted by the City of San Antonio at the Dallas Public Library.
The lure? A potential job teaching pre-K students and the chance to earn between $60,000 and $90,000 a year.
Some of the teachers who showed up to the “Pre-K 4 SA” presentation were reluctant to reveal their names for fear their interest in San Antonio’s program would get back to their school district.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said a second-grade teacher at DISD. “I have family that lives in San Antonio and since I am expecting a baby, it’s kind of like more than a career. It would be for family as well, so I just want to keep my options open."
Last November, San Antonio residents voted to raise its sales tax by one-eighth of a cent to fund early childhood education – an idea spearheaded by Mayor Julian Castro.
Planned are four early childhood education centers, the first two opening this fall. All of the centers will have the latest technology and teaching tools, numerous playgrounds, a children’s garden, family resource area and large training rooms.
Teachers will have a say in how the program is structured, said Rebecca Flores, the city of San Antonio’s education coordinator.
“This is new and we want everybody’s input,” Flores said.
San Antonio is looking to fill more than 100 spots, including 40 master teacher and 40 teaching assistant positions before the fall. Other jobs include positions for nurses, family specialists, professional development coordinators and administrative staff. The prerequisite for master teacher includes at least three years of early childhood teaching experience.
The job fair, which included a 30-minute overview of the initiative, drew teachers from the Dallas Independent School District and surrounding districts.
DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander said the caliber of teachers working in the district puts them in high demand.
“It's no secret that we have the best teachers in the state, so it's not a surprise that other districts would want to recruit teachers from Dallas,” Dahlander said.
He said the administration is planning to recommend to the board a 3 percent raise for teachers. Plans are also underway to create a pay-for-performance system that he said would make DISD teachers among the highest paid in the country.
Some teachers, like Casandra Thomas, said they were looking for something more stable than their current job. Thomas was laid off from last May and is currently substitute teaching.
“I still am looking for something permanent,” Thomas said. “I’ve only been in San Antonio to visit, but I guess you have to go where the job opportunities are.”