2018-04-14 / Front Page

RCS building partnerships to help house teachers

By Anna Fletcher
Courier-Times Staff Writer

It turns out, teachers make pretty good tenants, says local real estate agent Brandon Vernon – especially when they’re relocating to work at one of Person County’s schools.

“For me, I’d rather rent to a teacher than just about anybody else,” he said. “[The schools] have done more of a background check on a teacher than I ever could. And I’ve never had a teacher not pay their rent – that’s pretty important for a landlord.”

As local schools anticipate new hires for the next school year, some administrators are considering offering housing incentives to incoming faculty.

On Tuesday, Roxboro Community School Managing Executive Director Dave Ebert met with Vernon to brainstorm incentive options, such as first month’s free rent and waiving security deposits. Ebert also previously spoke with Roxboro Savings Bank Executive Vice President and CEO Keith Epstein and Vice President and Chief Credit Officer Derek Green to discuss options.

“I was just looking at a way that, as we hire new teachers that will be joining our staff, to have an incentive – especially if they’re having to relocate,” Ebert said. “If we hired a young teacher right out of college, [having] some way that we can help them with rent or, if it’s a more experienced teacher that’s relocating, looking to buy a house.”

Finding a residence in Roxboro can be difficult, Vernon says, making the need for assistance even greater.

“The housing market here on the rental side is tight – very tight,” he said. “We have a lot of issues right now with not being able to find enough housing. So anything we can do to alleviate that, certainly we’re trying to.”

Offering incentives would also help RCS compete with schools in larger districts – many of which currently provide their teachers with similar support, Ebert says. Over the past few months, he’s visited several job fairs, where he received positive feedback about incentive programs.

Not only would an incentive program help schools be more competitive, Epstein says, it would also stimulate economic growth.

“Without quality teachers and quality schools, there’s little hope for success in our local economy,” he said. “Everything from quality of life, crime, home prices – all of those are impacted by the quality of the schools. And the quality of the schools have a lot less to do with facilities than with the teachers in the classroom, in my opinion, so it’s incumbent upon us to make sure that goodquality teachers come to Roxboro and Person County.”

Right now, the idea is just a concept; but the team hopes to continue discussing ideas and eventually develop a program that will assist the teachers that trickle in and out of the school system.

“We’re not looking at [hiring] 10 teachers a year,” Ebert said. “We’ll have teacher turnover rate from time to time, with teachers retiring or moving because their spouse is relocating. Just being able to offer [help,] whether they’re able to take us up on that or not.”

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