WARRENTON, N.C. — Some of the poor school districts like Warren County simply cannot afford to keep good teachers. Those districts hope other perks will keep teachers in the classroom. If the findings from the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research are true, Veronica Richardson, a first-year teacher at Warren County Middle School, may not be here in a couple years. Almost one out of five teachers in Warren County didn't come back last year.
"You do notice a turnover. When you come back for a different year, it's not the same exact teachers that were here the previous year, so we are affected and we actually see it," she said.
School leaders hope the new crop of teachers will not add to Warren County's high teacher turnover rate. The study suggests one in three new teachers leaves the profession after three years on the job. Forty percent leave after five years.
Like most poor rural school districts, Warren County is trying to retain teachers with little money but some perks.
"We're giving the new teachers notebook computers to that effort to entice, and we're trying to make our working conditions the best they can be," said Ray Spain, superintendent of Warren County Schools.
"I love it here because teachers are supportive. They are team players, and I love teaching and I love children," said Carolyn Walker, a six-year teacher at Warren County Middle School.
Twenty-six percent of Hoke County's teachers left over the past five years. In Warren, Franklin and Edgecombe counties, the turnover rate is above 20 percent.