The job market is tight for teachers in some parts of Florida, but the Polk County School District says it is set to hire hundreds of teachers.
What's more, the district says it will offer the highest starting salaries for teachers in Central Florida.
"I think the extra $3,000 is definitely a plus,” said Phoebe Story, who is pursuing a master's degree in education from Southeastern University.
Story is very interested in teaching in Polk County when she graduates later this year.
"I think you are opening the door for more people to want to come into this field,” said fellow Southeastern University student Jessica Palm.
The district has more than 700 openings for new and experienced teachers for the upcoming school year. New teachers with a bachelor’s degree will be paid $40,000 – a starting salary that ranks among the very highest offered by area school districts. In Polk, those with a master’s degree start at $42,181, according to a school district news release.
A job fair will be held on Aug. 14 at Ridge Community High School in Davenport to help address the need for teachers at several East Polk schools.
"As a large and growing district, Polk County Public Schools has a significant need for teachers across a wide variety of subject areas and grade levels," the release said. "Polk County Schools is home to nationally-ranked high schools, two International Baccalaureate programs and more than 100 innovative career academies that prepare students for professional and high tech jobs."
Polk teacher recruiters are not just using the higher starting pay as a selling point. They are also promoting Polk as a great place to life.
"In between two beautiful coast lines, beaches, in between theme parks,” said Brian Warren, the acting senior director of human resources for the Polk school district.
Palm is convinced she wants to teach in Polk.
"We are looking to kind of stay in Polk County which is great," Palm said.
The district has produced three Florida Teachers of the Year, including the state’s 2015 winner.
More information about teacher recruitment and the Aug. 14 job fair can be found here.