BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A shortage of teachers continues to be a concern for Alabama’s school system as the number of new teachers entering the field plunges and current teachers retire or leave the field in growing numbers.

Efforts to hire and retain educators and school staff in the Birmingham City School District include increased pay, more recruiting and partnering with programs like Teach for America to provide additional teachers for in hard-to-staff areas like STEM and Special Educatio.

CBS 42 News spoke with BCS Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan to learn more about the staffing struggles they face and the solutions being employed.

“Just this month the state of Alabama instituted a 2 percent raise for all employees,” he explained. “But because we have a shortage of custodial staff, lunchroom staff and bus drivers, we’ve increased that to an additional 10 percent on top of that, so we want to ensure that education as a profession is something everyone wants to go into.”

“We know that we have to really intentional about our recruiting efforts,” said Sullivan. “That person (the recruiter) will go out beyond the city of Birmingham, beyond the state of Alabama and the southeast and have more of a national footprint around BCS recruiting teachers into the profession.”

On Thursday, Becky Pringle, President of the National Education Association, spoke with local and state educators to address some of the hurdles educators are facing like increased anxiety and burnout.

“What I have seen is the hope and the joy around being in person with their students and colleagues, and I have also seen the exhaustion and fear,” said Pringle.

“So what we are doing is partnering with the department of education in Washington D.C. we’re also partnering with colleges of education and universities across the county about how we can attract teachers of color and we have to keep them there doing it.”

If you are interested in teaching with BCS you can see their employment opportunities here.