Wake Ed

August 21, 2014

Wake County says teacher turnover increased

Wake County school officials say that aggressive hiring efforts helped keep the number of vacancies down during a period of increased teacher resignations.

Wake County school officials say that they don’t have more vacancies than normal despite an increase in the number of teacher resignations.

Doug Thilman, Wake’s assistant superintendent for human resources, said Thursday that Wake hired 1,200 new teachers over the summer compared to 1,000 in prior years to replace people who’ve left and to fill new positions. He said teacher resignations were up 200 people from the prior year. Wake has around 10,000 teachers.

“The resignations are up from 12-13 to 13-14,” Thilman said. “So is the hiring. Now the hiring going up is partly due to growth and partly filling that gap from an increased number of resignations.”

Thilman said there were between 40 and 60 teacher vacancies earlier in the week, a figure he said is about normal for this time of the year just before the opening of traditional-calendar schools. Updated figures will be released Friday.

Thilman said that the top areas for vacancies were for math and science teachers, followed by special-education teachers. The school board had voted in April to offer hiring bonuses of $1,500 for new special-education teachers and $1,000 for new teachers in math, science, health occupations and family & consumer science.

Back in April, Wake held a press conference to warn about the “alarming” number of mid-year teacher resignations. Some critics contended that Wake was overstating the issue.

Thilman said that the situation was indeed alarming in April. But he credited aggressive efforts by the HR Department and school-based administrators with keeping vacancies down.

Thilman also acknowledged that the higher salaries in the new state budget for teachers helped.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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