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Income tax proposed to alleviate California's teacher shortage




Compton second grade teacher Tamara Carter protests for a pay increase at school district headquarters.
Compton second grade teacher Tamara Carter protests for a pay increase at school district headquarters.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

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California has a problem in education — a pretty severe teacher shortage.  

School districts across the state have been struggling to find enough educators. Three-fourths of them report they've come up short this year.

But a bill working its way through the state senate has a pretty unique idea to attract new teachers and keep veterans in the classroom. The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act of 2017 proposes income tax relief for teachers at financially critical points in their careers — the first program in the country of its kind. 

The bill's c0-author, state Senator Henry Stern of Agoura Hills, joined Take Two's A Martinez. 

Interview Highlight

It's a decade long program. We're trying to not just lift up the teaching profession, but stimulate California's economy by an across-the-board pay increase, essentially. It's going to increase take home pay on average between 5 to 7 percent for the entirety of the teaching workforce. 

We're going to be looking at the first five years of teaching. Those who are going through their credentialing for a tax credit. And then beyond that, we're looking at an income tax exemption. The idea is that we're not only looking at those in the early stages of their teaching profession. Really the big ‘donut-hole’ is those who are teaching beyond five years. Thirty percent of the teachers in the workforce are leaving the profession after five years. 

It's hard to keep up with the cost of living in California, and this is an effort to fix it. 

To hear the full interview, click on the blue media player above.