Section 19B. There shall be an incoming teacher signing bonus program to be administered by the department of education for the purpose of encouraging the best and brightest candidates to teach in the public schools. The goal of such program shall be to encourage high achieving candidates to enter the profession who would otherwise not consider a career in teaching. Funding for such program shall be subject to the provisions of section 35S of chapter 10.
The board of education shall promulgate regulations, where necessary, for the effective implementation of such program. Such regulations shall include the following provisions:
(1) On an annual basis, the department of education shall select the best and brightest teaching prospects based on objective measures such as test scores, grade point average or class rank and such other criteria as the department may determine. The department shall establish a system for receiving a limited number of recommendations for outstanding candidates for such bonuses from institutions of higher education across the nation. In selecting bonus recipients, the department shall consider such recommendations.
(2) In a given year, the department may target awards to attract teachers for those subject matter areas most needed in the commonwealth; provided, however, that such subject matter areas shall be included in the core subjects as described in section 1D of chapter 69.
(3) In a given year, the department shall award bonuses only to those deserving candidates rather than providing a set number of bonuses.
(4) Recipients shall receive a $20,000 signing bonus over at least three years with at least $8,000 distributed in the first year of the bonus.
(5) Such recipients shall be eligible for each year's bonus payment only if they are certified to teach in the commonwealth and are employed as a teacher by a public school in the commonwealth.
(6) The department shall select and notify bonus recipients by April 1 of each year. Eligible recipients shall receive their annual bonus payments by the subsequent October 1 of each year.
(7) The name of an individual recipient of such bonus shall remain confidential unless recipient waives such confidentiality in writing.
(8) The department shall aggressively market the existence of the program to encourage the best and brightest candidates in the nation to come to the commonwealth to teach. Such marketing shall focus on candidates who would otherwise not consider a career in teaching.
(9) The program shall set forth an outreach plan to attract underrepresented populations to the teaching profession.