The number of teachers leaving Harford County Public Schools jumped 36% over the past three years, with some citing salary as the reason, according to preliminary data provided to the school board last week by the school system’s director of human resources.
Responding to questions from Harford County Board of Education members at their July 21st meeting, Jean Mantegna, assistant superintendent for human resources, said that she had begun reviewing data on departing teachers over the past three years, and the trend is up. “Our numbers of teachers separated, the number is rising,” she said. In the 2010-11 year, 182 teachers left the system, Mantegna said, compared to 248 thus far in the 2013-14 year ending on September 30, 2014.
The difference of 66 teachers equates to an increase of 36%.
Among those leaving the system, Mantegna said that she believed retirements were trending upward, along with the number of departing teachers with 7 – 10 years of experience.
The 248 departures so far this year represent 8% of the 2941 teachers employed at the start of the 2013-14 school year, according to information later provided by Jillian Lader, HCPS manager of communications.
Among those who chose to take an exit survey so far this year, 11% cited salary as their primary reason for leaving, Mantegna said. The voluntary exit survey also includes the primary reasons of retirement, a job in another school system, moving out of state, or personal issues, with salary being added for the first time this year, she said.
This was also a year marked by a series of teacher protests over salaries, culminating in a union-led “March for Education” through Bel Air in April. Union president Ryan Burbey warned at the time that teachers were leaving “in droves” due to a lack of salary increases in the past several years.
Asked in a phone interview Tuesday why only 11% cited salaries as their reason for leaving, Burbey questioned how many chose to answer the exit survey. “The vast majority of people leaving Harford County Public Schools want to put it in the rear view mirror, “he said. He also noted that the survey included an option for going to another school system, which could be due to salary, adding that some teachers worry their survey comments may follow them to their next job.
Burbey also said he expected “many more” separations in subsequent reports.
Below are the most recent monthly personnel reports for April, May and June, which include the names, positions, and length of service for departing employees. Reports for April and May were not previously published by HCPS, but were provided to The Dagger upon request. This year’s annual report on personnel is expected sometime after September 30, 2014.