USD 457 board discusses teacher turnover in district




Members of the USD 457 Board of Education heard about district turnover Monday night — more specifically, how the number of non-renewed teachers and teacher resignations increased in 2012-13.

Deputy Superintendent Steve Karlin gave a presentation at Monday night's board meeting about the district's 2013-14 hiring practices and personnel moves, as well as the district's recruiting numbers by state.

Overall, the district hired 83 staff members for the 2013-14 school year. Those positions were open due to the addition of new positions, non-renewals, resignations, retirements, building-to-building transfers and in-building transfers.

Karlin said there was a net cut of 1.5 positions for this school year.

Karlin gave a breakdown of the number of non-renewed teacher contracts over the last five school years, including: 2012-13, when there were 19; 2011-12, when there were seven; 2010-11, when there were 25; 2009-10, when there were 26; and 2008-09, when there were 19."

Karlin told board members that non-renewals include teachers deemed by administration to be inadequate, at which point the board can choose not to renew those teachers' contracts. Non-renewals also include teachers who have yet to obtain their Kansas teaching licenses.

"A lot of times, when we hire someone from out of state, they get a one-year license. The state requires them to do some things in order to be eligible for an initial license in Kansas, and if they haven't gotten some of those things taken care of by non-renewal time, we can't employ them because we can't put them under contract if we don't know they're going to be eligible for a license the coming year," Karlin said. "As you can see, we've had some pretty high numbers of non-renewals over the last couple of years."

There were a higher number of resignations, as well, during the 2012-13 school year than in previous years — 67. Karlin said the number of resignations in recent years has ranged from 29 to 48.

"The board knows that we've hired a lot of teachers from Michigan. Michigan had a program this year where they incentivized retirement for some of their veteran teachers, which really kind of opened up some job opportunities, so I think we saw some of our folks who just wanted to get back closer to home," Karlin said about the higher number of resignations. "Right now, I'd say this is nothing unusual over what we have normally seen, but that number is going to cause us to look a little deeper than that to see why it's a little higher this year."

In the 2012-13 school year, there were 31 building-to-building transfers and 31 in-building transfers, which Karlin said is normal.

For the 2013-14 school year, Karlin said the district recruited in six different states, including Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Texas and Missouri.

"Kansas is always the priority. Of the 83 positions, we hired I think 40 from Kansas," Karlin said. "We only hired 14 teachers from Michigan. Normally, it's 25 to 30."

He said the lower numbers of teachers recruited from Michigan could again be attributed to more teaching positions being made available in that state.

In other business, the board approved a bid for the purchase of two new eight-passenger SUVs from Burtis Motor Co., costing $32,195 each; approved the acceptance of a grant for carrying out the approved Education for Homeless Children and Youth Grant program; and approved a physical therapy agreement between Sandhill Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, LLC and USD 457.

The board also was presented with two new policies and revisions to existing policies regarding harassment, bullying and tobacco usage, which will be included in the agenda for the board's Sept. 9 meeting.

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