MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — While the school year is winding down, the Mobile County Public School System is already preparing for next year, and they expect to need more teachers for the upcoming school year.

The Mobile County Public School system says they will likely have hundreds of openings by this summer.

“There’s no other profession that you can make such a lasting impact on in the lives of individuals,” said Rena Philips, the MCPSS spokesperson.

The school system says they don’t yet know just how many openings they’ll have but are anticipating hundreds. They’re not just hiring teachers, but also paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and custodians.

“Like many other school systems across the country. We need teachers. There are fewer teachers graduating from college. This was a problem before the pandemic,” said Philips.

The school system is offering sign-on bonuses for newly hired teachers, ranging from $3,000 – $5,000, and salaries have also increased.

“One good thing that has come out of COVID is the Alabama legislature has recognized teachers need to be paid more. So the starting salary, base salary with a bachelor’s degree is now $43,300 and a lot of our teachers have a master’s degree, so that adds several thousand to that. and so the good news about that, we know teachers deserve more than that. But a good thing about that, is we are now above the national average which is $41,000. So we’re making strides in the area of teacher pay,” said Philips.

Which they say will help make them competitive, and attractive to applicants.

“We have 90 schools. What we’re saying is there’s a school for everyone. We have large schools, small schools, urban schools, rural schools, and magnet schools. You name it we’ve got it,” said Philips.

The teacher recruitment fair is next Wednesday, May 25th, at the Mobile Convention center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. you can register ahead of time or just show up.