Wake County Schools

'Alarming' Wake teacher turnover numbers to be released Thursday

Posted April 16
Updated August 29

— By day, Joshua Gallagher is a Wake County middle school teacher.

At night, he’s a custodian.

"I don't want to leave this profession, but there is not much motivation to stay," he told school board members during a recent school board meeting. "When it is 10:30 at night and I am scrubbing a toilet or cleaning a urinal, I start to think maybe I could do something else.

“It shouldn't be that way for me. I am at a crossroads."

Gallagher, who works two part-time jobs to pay the bills, isn’t alone in deciding whether to stay in the teaching profession. District leaders described mid-year teacher resignations as “alarming,” possibly as high as an 40 percent increase from last year, WRAL has learned.

The turnover numbers will be announced during a press conference at Underwood G.T. Magnet Elementary School Thursday afternoon.

Jackie Jordan, the principal at Underwood, told WRAL Thursday that losing good teachers has an impact on the quality of education schools can provide. 

"Our schools are great and it makes our state great, but what parents need to remember, lawmakers need to remember and the community needs to remember is that it starts in the classroom," she said. "Without great teachers in our classrooms, our schools will suffer."

Jordan said three teachers have already left Underwood during the 2013-14 school year, and two more have told her they won't be back next year. 

"One teacher left California 11 years ago, and is still making $20,000 less in teacher pay than when she left California," Jordan said. "She loves her job, but unfortunately, due to the financial responsibilities for her family, she has to look for a different profession. She's leaving a job that she loves and you can really see that in her classroom."

The announcement comes as school board members consider a proposed budget requesting $39 million more from county commissioners. Most of that money would support a 3.5 percent pay increase for teachers and staff.

The proposed budget is part of Wake schools Superintendent Jim Merrill’s plan to, by 2020, increase per pupil spending by $400 and raise teacher salaries to the national average. Wake schools’ average teacher salary is $45,512 while the national average is $56,383, the district said.

"We are not just begging the government for more money, we are talking about a critical shortage of teachers and a lack of respect for the profession of teachers," school board vice-chairman Tom Benton said.

The pay increase, if approved, may be too late for Gallagher.

"I don't wanna leave this profession, but there is not much motivation to stay," he said.

224 Comments

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  • bill15 Apr 17, 7:58 p.m.

    "Wake County has historically had a lower-than-average rate of teacher turnover compared to other districts in the state, leaders said, but that rate, about 12 percent in 2012-13, was expected to climb in 2013-14."

    Yes, y'all are correct when you say the historical rate of 7% is on the low side. The GOP agenda is doubling that number and 13-14% is not low.

  • ConservativeVoter Apr 17, 7:36 p.m.

    This is a democrat hit job on the Republican governor conducted by the NEA and the NCEA with WRAL's assistance.

    A 7% turnover rate for teachers is normal on a historical basis.

    No story here.

    These same hypocrites didn't say a word when these problems started under the Democrat Perdue and the Republican governor inherited.

  • avidreader Apr 17, 6:18 p.m.

    Twitter is on fire, too, with stories. I work for WCPSS - I don't remember the outrage at the Dems over the last years - very political if you ask me,

  • ConservativeVoter Apr 17, 5:34 p.m.

    WRAL just announced the Wake turnover rate is "one of the lowest in the state" - slightly less... View More

    — Posted by Brogden

    Doesn't sound like the mass exodus we have been reading about all day. As far as not getting... View More

    — Posted by atozca

    A 7% turnover rate is very low.

    This sounds like it's very close to the historical averages.

    Looks like the teachers talked WRAL into helping them campaign for a pay raise in the public forum along with attacking the Republican governor for doing exactly what Perdue did.

    WRAL should report the news instead of creating the news.

  • ConservativeVoter Apr 17, 5:32 p.m.

    Meant NCEA and NEA instead of NCAE and NAE. Anyway they are a campaign arm for the Democrat Party who was okay with this problem under Perdue, but the hypocrites started complaining now that a Republican is in office.

  • ConservativeVoter Apr 17, 5:26 p.m.

    The NCAE and NAE is a campaign arm of the Democrat party. This problem existed when Perdue was governor yet it's now an issue now that a Republican is in office.

  • ConservativeVoter Apr 17, 5:23 p.m.

    Teachers should keep their mouths shut before people realize what they are really being paid for. Teachers receive a full time salary, health benefits, and pension for only working nine months a year. Bet most taxpayers who pay the teachers salaries wish they could get a gig like that.

  • atozca Apr 17, 5:23 p.m.

    WRAL just announced the Wake turnover rate is "one of the lowest in the state" - slightly less... View More

    — Posted by Brogden

    Doesn't sound like the mass exodus we have been reading about all day. As far as not getting raises.... we too are being offered 90's pay rates to do our job in the construction industry.

  • WakkaWakka Apr 17, 5:00 p.m.

    [PLenty Coups - I make as much working for 12 months as they do in the "10 months" you are... View More

    — Posted by skisx3

    I knew what the pay scale was when I started, and I should be making more than I am now, not nearly less than I was makig then.

  • WakkaWakka Apr 17, 5:00 p.m.

    [PLenty Coups - I make as much working for 12 months as they do in the "10 months" you are... View More

    — Posted by skisx3

    I knew what the pay scale was when I started, and I should be making more than I am now, not nearly less than I was makig then.

More...