School system’s rate of teacher turnover far above state norm

Dec. 07, 2013 @ 06:00 PM

The Vance County Schools system lost more than 22 percent of its teachers last year. And of those leaving, more than half remained in education.

The turnover percentage is comparable to neighboring counties, but well above the state’s rate of 14.3 percent.

“We have quite of few people every year who retire and we have people who leave the profession and go do something else,” said Terri Hedrick, the system’s public information officer. “And then we have those who remain in education but move on to another county. If we lose a teacher to another school district typically it is because they can make more money in that school district.”

She said all teachers in Vance County schools earn a $2,500 supplement, in addition to their salaries.

Following the 2012-2013 school year, 118 of 520 Vance County teachers departed.

The statistics were recently released in the annual report on Teachers Leaving the Profession. Warren County had turnover rate of 25.7 percent and Granville County 17.5 percent.

Hedrick said it is important for the school system to know why teachers leave. Often, Hedrick said, larger school districts can offer higher supplements.

The data from Vance County Schools shows 62 teachers, or 52.5 percent, remained in education and 20 teachers, or 16.9 percent, left for personal or other reasons, which includes retiring, teaching in a nonpublic school in North Carolina, or teaching in another state.

A total of 455 teachers reported resigning to teach in another state last year, up from 341 the previous year. The statewide report of local school systems with an average teacher turnover rate of 14.3 percent was up from 12.1 percent in 2012-2013.

“The statistics that trouble me are the hundreds of educators who left their jobs in 2012-2013 to teach in another state or resigned because they were dissatisfied with teaching or wanted a career change,” June Atkinson said in a press release. Atkinson is the stat superintendent. “I am concerned that if changes are not made, low pay and a lack of support will push even more educators out of North Carolina classrooms and the teaching profession.”

The top reason teachers reported for leaving their districts was to teach in another North Carolina school district or charter school. Retirement was the second-most cited reason for leaving and family relocation was the third-most common reason teachers cited.

Of the 13,616 teachers that reported leaving their districts, 49.4 percent had tenure. This is an increase from 47.5 percent who left with tenure in 2011-2012.

A total of 887 teachers reported that they left their districts in 2012-2013 because they were dissatisfied with teaching and/or seeking a career change, which is an increase from the 816 teachers who cited this same reason last year.

The number of teachers who reported leaving their districts to teach in another North Carolina school district, to take a non-teaching position in education, or to teach in a charter school or private school all increased since last year.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.