AUSTIN (KXAN) — One of the largest school districts in Texas is dipping into the Austin talent pool to lure teachers from an area that’s also struggling to fill hundreds of vacancies before the next school year starts in about a month.

Billboards appeared recently in different parts of Austin with this message: “Become a Teacher in Dallas, Texas.” The large advertisements from the Dallas Independent School District also stated that teacher salaries there range from $60,000 to $102,000. A link also appears on the billboards where people can go to apply if they’re interested in one of the openings.

One sign is located in south Austin on Barton Springs Road across from the Austin Eastciders location there, and another stands close to a gas station in far west Austin on the way to Dripping Springs on U.S. 290.

Dallas ISD is not only eyeing Central Texas for job candidates, though. Recent media reports also detailed how these same billboards popped up in Arkansas and Arizona. KXAN’s sister station in Little Rock reported that the Dallas district placed billboards throughout that area to recruit teachers disillusioned with relatively-low pay in Arkansas. Meanwhile, The Arizona Republic newspaper reported Dallas ISD’s recruitment efforts focused on different cities in Arizona because data showed an increase in applicants from that state.  

No one from Dallas ISD was available Friday for an interview about the far-reaching nature of these advertising efforts. However, the district said it has recruited domestically and internationally for years and specifically focused on areas where more people have sent in applications, including Austin.

As of Thursday, a district spokesperson said Dallas ISD had approximately 300 teacher vacancies for the upcoming school year. However, the district reported it made more than 100 offers during a job fair Thursday, so those candidates are now going through the employment process to eventually secure spots in Dallas classrooms.

Austin area teacher vacancies

This week the Austin Independent School District shared it still has more than 500 positions to fill before the school year begins in August. In addition to hosting job fairs, the district is offering monetary incentives for those who sign on.

KXAN is reaching out to other school districts throughout the area to keep track of who’s still hiring before students return to classes after summer break.

According to those surveys, eight percent of the teacher positions are still vacant in three of the districts that have responded to our inquiries so far: Georgetown ISD, Taylor ISD and Lockhart ISD.

In Lockhart specifically, the district, like many others, increased the starting salaries for the new school year and is offering $3,000 sign-on bonuses. Additionally, it launched a carpooling program for employees more than 10 miles outside of Lockhart to receive $10 a day if they carpool with other employees. The district is also exploring a potential public-private partnership to launch an affordable housing pilot program for employees.

Austin ISD is looking at a similar proposal through a school bond. One of two bond proposals would allocate $50 million to provide affordable housing options for up to 400 teachers.