Wake Ed

Wake County teacher turnover at 11 percent

From left, River Bend Elementary kindergarten teacher Valerie Minervini leads her students in a morning counting song during their Thursday, September 15, 2016 school day at the Raleigh school.
From left, River Bend Elementary kindergarten teacher Valerie Minervini leads her students in a morning counting song during their Thursday, September 15, 2016 school day at the Raleigh school. News & Observer file photo

The Wake County school system lost 1,150 teachers last year, or 11.29 percent of its work force, but did a better job of holding on to its educators than the average North Carolina school district.

The state’s 2016 teacher turnover report shows that 892 of Wake County’s 10,184 teachers left state classrooms last year for options including changing careers, teaching in other states and retirement. Another 258 Wake teachers left the district to teach elsewhere in North Carolina.

The state changed the way it records teacher turnover so Wake school officials say the 2015-16 figures can’t be compared to rates in past years. But school administrators told the Wake school board Tuesday that the district was still doing better than many other North Carolina school districts.

Wake’s state attrition rate of teachers leaving North Carolina classrooms is 8.76 percent, compared to the statewide rate of 9.04 percent.

Wake’s mobility rate, which consists of teachers who leave to work in other schools in the state, is 2.53 percent compared to the statewide rate of 4.36 percent. Wake’s mobility rate was the lowest among the nine school districts that had 1,700 or more teachers and was the 14th lowest among the 115 North Carolina school systems.

While Wake lost 258 teachers to other North Carolina schools, it made up for the loss by recruiting 425 teachers from other North Carolina school districts.

“We attract teachers from across the state and they want to come work in Wake County,” said Doug Thilman, Wake’s assistant superintendent for human resources.

Wake’s district attrition rate, which includes the state attrition and mobility rates, is 11.29 percent compared to the average district rate of 13.4 percent.

One potential reason that Wake may be doing better than other school districts could be how much the district’s teachers are paid. A recently released district report shows that Wake’s average teacher salary last year exceeded $50,000 for the first time at $50,803.

The state provides the base salaries for teachers but school districts can supplement the pay. Wake’s average teacher salary supplement of $6,975 last year was the highest of any North Carolina school district.

“A lot of credit goes to both our (school) board and the county commissioners and how we had adjusted supplement rates,” Thilman said.

Figures presented Tuesday listed reasons Wake teachers gave for leaving the district, including:

▪ Personal reasons (such as health or disability, career change, family relocation and child care) – 379

▪ Retired with reduced or full benefits – 228

▪ Contract ended or license not renewed – 154

▪ Moved to another North Carolina district or charter school – 147

▪ Moved to non-public/private school in North Carolina or to teach in another state – 89

▪ Other reasons/unknown reasons – 85

▪ Dismissal/Resignation in lieu of dismissal – 34

▪ Dissatisfied with teaching – 9

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