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GCS applying for $60 million grant to attract, keep staff

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Guilford County Schools is applying for a $60 million federal grant. It wants to potentially use that money to help it attract new teachers and principals and keep them around.

Guilford County Schools say around 30 percent less people are going to school to become educators and turnover at their schools is almost 15 percent.

"As a principal one of the most important things I do each year is hire good teachers,” said Charles Blanchard, the principal at Grimsley Senior High School. “In the last five years it has become extremely difficult to recruit new talent in the profession.”

Blanchard is part of a talent development committee for the school system. The group thinks pay and lack of opportunity is what drives some teachers off.

The committee believes there needs to be more diversity in staff, more play for positive results and extra compensation for those who work in schools that are struggling. They also want people to get extra pay for doing things like mentoring and recruiting teachers.

“We need to be able to provide growth opportunities and professional development to encourage our teachers and support our teachers,” said Christa Hannah, a teacher and member of the talent development committee.

Guilford County Schools agreed to apply for a $60 million federal grant on Thursday. They say it could be months before they know if they get the grant.

If they do get it, they’ll get $12 million a year for five years. If they don’t, they say they will look for other ways to get the money.