DILLON, SC (WBTW) – Dillon School District Four bought properties for newly hired teachers to live in as an incentive to work for the district.
Superintendent, Ray Rogers, said the district received a grant from the state’s Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) Program.
“We have teachers coming from other states, and we have teachers that come from other countries, and finding rental housing is very, very difficult,” said Rogers. “We had the opportunity to secure the grant.”
Rogers said the grant was for $240,000.
“It helps because housing is a big problem for people coming in with the shortage that you have with teachers,” he said.
The Superintendent said the district has 21 teacher vacancies it’s looking to fill for the 2018-2019 school year.
“It’s a great situation for us to have something to offer because we can’t pay the salaries that are paid in other school districts,” he said.
Rogers said the district bought two complexes that can fit up to eight teachers.
“There are four duplex apartments that have two bedrooms, a den, kitchen,” he told News13. “They’re about two miles from Dillon High School, and would be centrally located to pretty much all the schools in Dillon.”
Rogers said although the district owns the complexes, the teachers would still have to pay rent.
“Some teachers want to live together,” he said. “They will have to pay a certain amount, but no matter where they go they’re going to pay a certain amount.”
The Superintendent estimated rent around $500 per unit, and said the lease would last for one year.
“Just having the availability, and ready to move in is something that is good for any teacher coming in,” he said. “Housing in rural areas is at a premium, especially a lease or a rental property so we’ve seen a lot of teachers come in the past few years, and can’t find somewhere suitable.”
Rogers said that some teachers have a 45 minute commute to work each morning. He said he hopes the housing incentive will ease the transition for new hires that will travel from out of the state, and out of the country.
Rogers said if the district doesn’t rent the apartments out to teachers, they will be available to the public.
“Even if we rent the apartments out, they’ll already be paid for,” said Rogers. “The taxpayer won’t owe anything on them.”
Rogers said the district has already received applications, but said it’s too soon to know if, and which, teachers would need housing.
“We’re looking forward to interviewing, and seeing if we can’t get some good ones to come to Dillon Four,” Rogers said.