Assembly's Rudy Salas wants to invest millions in Neighborhood Teachers

By The Leader Staff
Assemblyman Rudy Salas
Assemblyman Rudy Salas

Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) recently introduced AB 2489, legislation designed to provide $50 million in grant funds to teachers who work at and live near underserved and understaffed schools.

According to a study conducted by the Learning Policy Institute, 80 percent of California school districts — four out of every five — are impacted by teacher shortages. Ensuring schools are adequately staffed with teachers in the community establishes a stronger connection between teachers and students and creates a more positive learning experience. 

“With the state’s historic budget surplus, we need to invest more in our teachers and students,” said Salas. “Providing incentives to develop neighborhood teachers that live in the same school district as their students will create better outcomes for our kids. AB 2489 is an innovative approach to recruit and retain our best and brightest educators in struggling school districts.”

Between 2016 and 2018, 12 percent of California teachers left public school teaching. A survey published in February 2022 reported that 55 percent of educators are thinking about leaving the profession. Teachers around California have expressed concerns over severe staffing shortages, difficulties with COVID-19 requirements, and worsening overall working conditions. 

AB 2489 is a unique, community-based approach to addressing the teacher shortage that provides $50 million in grant funds to supplement the salaries of teachers who agree to live within the boundaries of the priority school they teach at for five years. Eligible priority schools are K-12 schools with 50 percent or more of their student population eligible for free or reduced-priced meals. 

AB 2489 will now be referred to the Assembly Rules Committee and is expected for a hearing after 30 days.

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