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DPSCD Offers Recurring $15,000 Bonus for Select Special Education Teachers

In the last four years, DPSCD’s teacher vacancy rate has steadily declined. To help drive it down further and attain the goal of full staffing for the start of the new school year in the fall, the District will implement a reoccurring pay incentive of $15,000 for select Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teachers (formerly special education) beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. Of the District’s remaining teacher vacancies, 80% are in ESE teacher positions.  

The following current district employed teachers and those who would be newly recruited and hold active endorsement will be eligible:  

  • Emotional Impairment
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing

 “We’ve filled nearly every general education teacher position in the last four years, all while increasing the number of teacher positions in our schools. Filling the remaining Exceptional Student Education positions is the last piece of the puzzle in becoming fully staffed and ensuring all of DPSCD’s students have a qualified educator,” said Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, Superintendent, DPSCD. “We have increased salaries for all teachers in the last four years to recognize our educators, and this certification bonus goes the extra mile to attract and retain the best teachers in these historically difficult-to-staff assignments. In my mind, one teacher vacancy in our district is one too many.”   

This reoccurring bonus is being issued in accordance with the existing Collective Bargaining agreement within the Detroit Federation of Teachers contract, which allows DPSCD, at its discretion, to issue an annual certification bonus to critical shortage areas, such as, ESE. Current DPSCD educators teaching in these areas who continue in their assignment next school year will automatically be eligible for the bonus. DPSCD educators who are not teaching in one of these areas but hold one of the eligible endorsements may request a transfer for the 2021-2022 school year to be eligible. Educators from outside DPSCD are welcome to apply. To view and apply for open positions, visit  

The teacher positions that are eligible for the reoccurring bonus are difficult to fill because they require additional teacher certifications and/or endorsements beyond the standard general education teacher. Fewer undergraduates are entering education programs, which reduces the pool of eligible candidates for all teacher positions, especially ESE positions. This makes it especially difficult to recruit teachers in these areas. The incentive is to attract teachers in surrounding districts who receive higher pay due to inequitable state funding. This places DPSCD in a disadvantage when recruiting highly specialized teachers. This bonus narrows the pay gap and, in most examples, eliminates it.