ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The Roswell Independent School District is tackling its teacher shortage by offering higher salaries than the state requires.

Last year, the school district found itself down 100 teachers. This year, that number is below twenty. Superintendent Brian Luck said their research showed that teachers were heading to Texas because they were getting better salaries.

That’s when the district decided to pay their teachers more than the state minimum, starting them at anywhere from $60,000 to $77,000 depending on their qualifications and experience. The state’s minimum ranges from $50,000 to $70,000.

“We’re pretty excited, we’re starting to see again some people are getting out of retirement. Some had said they might never come back. We’ve had several that have looked at it a little stronger,” said Luck.

The district is using money out of its regular budget to pay for the raises. Luck, who was a teacher for more than a decade, knows the effect understaffing can have on a school. “It’s tough, it’s tough. You get asked to pick up extra duties. A lot of times, you have teachers who are having to pick up extra classes. You have to make sure you have a quality teacher in front of the kids,” said Luck.

The superintendent hopes to bring in another wave of teachers after the winter break.