City of Laurens and District 55 Partner to Attract and Retain Good Teachers

December 14, 2020

Laurens County School District 55 has partnered with the City of Laurens to attract and retain good teachers through quality housing.  The School District was able to obtain a Rural Recruitment grant for the District to be used for teacher retention.  As a result of the cooperation between the City of Laurens and our school system, these funds will now be able to help make sure teachers are able to both live and work in our community. School Superintendent, Dr. Ameca Thomas, helped to ensure a portion of the grant was set aside for teachers to make the move to live in Laurens County.

According to this program, teachers who wish to live in the City of Laurens (but who are not already residents), will be able to apply for a one-time grant in the amount of $1,000.00 to be used for establishing a new residence in the City of Laurens.  For example, eligible teachers may choose to use these funds toward a down payment on a new home or to help pay closing costs.  Teachers wishing to apply for this grant will be “pre-qualified” through the School District, and then grants will be awarded to qualified applicants through a partnership with the City of Laurens for so long as funds remain available.

“We believe this new incentive is a win-win for our community,” said Mayor Nathan Senn.  “By having our teachers live in our community, we reduce the stress of their daily lives by eliminating a commute and we will benefit from their engagement in our community outside of the classroom.  Our school district will certainly benefit from the stability we achieve by keeping quality teachers here in Laurens, putting down roots here, rather than having them look elsewhere.  And of course, by having more teachers living here, we’ll see the benefits of having those folks shopping at our stores and dining at our restaurants.  This really is a solution that makes sense for everyone.”

Alicia Scott, the program’s coordinator, sent out a survey to teachers and has already identified several teachers who are qualified for the incentive. She stated “ We greatly appreciate Dr. Thomas’ Support with this grant and share her view that Laurens 55 is committed to supporting our educators. We believe that Laurens is a great place to be!”