DETROIT — Metro Detroit public school districts are bypassing entry-level teacher applicants in favor of hiring experienced educators to fill jobs left open by retirees, the Detroit Free Press reported.

School officials said they prefer to hire experienced teachers and forego the payroll savings that hiring newcomers would allow, the Free Press reported.

About 17,000 public school teachers retired statewide when offered a one-time incentive by the state this year. The deal was intended to help school districts save money by filling those jobs with beginning educators at lower salaries, the Free Press reported.

But officials in 13 of 15 districts polled by the Free Press said that they opted for experience first when hiring, the Press reported.

"Certainly, if you had candidates with proven experience, that's very attractive, and the candidates we had this year have outstanding experience," Tim McAvoy, Utica Community Schools spokesman, told the Free Press. Of the 49 teachers hired by Utica this year, three were new college graduates, the Free Press reported.

Many districts received thousands of applications for job openings, the Free Press reported.

Detroit Free Press, "School districts prefer skilled teachers to savings," Sept. 19, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Teacher Experience," June 30, 2008