Hunting high and low

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A North Carolina-based firm, the Center for International Education Inc., has an interesting Visiting International Faculty Program, which helps school districts wishing to hire teachers from abroad to overcome the hurdles of international recruitment and securing the necessary visas. Washington County recently became the first Maryland district to use VIF, filling 10 slots in their foreign language, math, and science departments.

Letting VIF recruit these foreign teachers is only slightly more expensive than hiring a homegrown one. In addition to the teacher's base salary, schools usually pay VIF $11,500 per teacher to cover the costs of benefits--which the district would have had to pay for anyway--and the program's administration expenses. Still, Washington County spokeswoman Carol Mowen said that, even with VIF's costs factored in, each VIF teacher in Washington County cost the district approximately only $1,300 more a year than a nonimmigrant teacher.