Rows of wood and metal student desks and chairs facing blackboard in a classroom
(DONGSEON KIM/Shutterstock)

ATLANTA (AP) — Some Georgia teachers who agree to work in certain rural or low performing schools could get an extra $3,000 a year for five years under a bill advancing in the state Senate.

The Senate on Monday voted 50-0 for House Bill 32, which would create a tax credit for up to 1,000 teachers who agree to begin work in targeted districts. If teachers didn’t incur $3,000 in state income tax liability, the state would send a check for the remaining amount after teachers file their income tax returns.

The measure passed the House earlier. It returns there for more debate because the Senate cut the length of the program from 10 years to five.

The state Department of Education would designate 100 schools statewide where full-time teachers would qualify for the incentive, choosing schools that are rural or that score in the lowest 5% in the state’s school rating system. The program would begin next fall, prioritizing instructors who teach hard-to-fill subjects as designated by geographic area.

Teachers who agree to start work at those schools would get the money, whether they are new to the profession or had taught elsewhere. However, teachers already working at targeted schools wouldn’t get the money.

Georgia has tried and abandoned other strategies to encourage teachers to take hard-to-fill positions. A number of other states offer extra pay or loan repayment programs.

Georgia isn’t experiencing as severe a teacher shortage as some other states, boosted by a growing population and salaries high for the region. But it’s still a problem in the state, particularly with declining enrollments in colleges of education.

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