ALAMANCE COUNTY, NC -- High teacher turnover rates could be negatively affecting students’ learning experiences in Alamance County.
In total, 228 teachers have left Alamance Burlington Schools this year for a variety of reasons including dismissal, retirement, certification reasons, and personal reasons.
However, ABSS Superintendent Dr. Bill Harrison says more than one-third of those, 83 teachers, went to other school districts in state for more money.
"We looked at where teachers who went to the other school systems were going. Many of them were going to surrounding counties,” said Harrison. “We have teachers that live in surrounding counties and teachers that live here that left us to go work somewhere else. I think the supplement is part of it."
On average, Alamance Burlington Schools pays about the same in salary as other school districts in the state.
However, the difference comes in the supplements they offer for teachers for variances such as geographic location, market conditions or school demographics.
Harrison says the ABSS supplements are about five percent lower than surrounding school districts.
In 2015, Harrison says the school system started a five year plan to raise teacher supplements by one percent each year.
But this past year, due to a lack of funding from the county, they didn't increase supplements at all.
As a result, Harrison says some teachers are leaving.
The school system has replaced the outgoing teachers with younger, less experienced teachers, which impacts quality in the classrooms, according to Harrison.
"They aren't as good in their first year as they will be three or four years down the road,” said Harrison. “We welcome beginning teachers but we need some veteran teachers there to support them and work with them and help them grow."
Alamance Burlington School System’s teacher turnover rate is currently at 14.5 percent, up 2.5 percent from the year before when it was around 12 percent.
Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools has a teacher turnover rate of 14.18 percent which is up from 12.78 percent in 2016.
Guilford County Schools is going in the opposite direction.
GCS has a turnover rate of 13.6 percent, down almost 1 percent from last year when it was 14.4 percent.
Harrison says Alamance Burlington School Board members are asking the county for more money to try to help retain teachers.
They plan to revisit the conversation about supplements in the future.