Gundrum updates Board on staff retention

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Director of Employee Services Tabatha Gundrum presented data of staff retention and turnover across all employee groups at the Board of Education regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 5.

The District has tracked the teacher turnover rate for four years. Gundrum noted it remains just under 10 percent, which is about what it has been in previous years.

She shared that there has been more significant turnover among support staff, especially para-educators (26 percent), food service (23 percent) and transportation (22 percent). Diane Austin, who supports the support staff groups in employee services, found the number of support staff who have left (60) is similar to the number of teachers who have left (62) even though there are twice the number of teachers in District.

Gundrum said employee services is working on an onboarding process that won't just include orientation but will provide support throughout an employee's first year. The focus will be on training and development. There are also plans to have a feedback loop for staff and to monitor data more closely. Eventually, every staff support group will have this, she said. Gundrum said the District has been doing this with teachers for close to a decade.

"We haven't done as thorough a job with our support staff and the data supports that,'' Gundrum said.

Gundrum said area districts have anecdotally reported at least a 10 percent turnover of teaching staff annually. She said other districts haven't shared the turnover among their support staff. She pointed out lots of area districts for food service and bus drivers so they have fewer support staff. She also reported turnover is higher among newer MCPASD employees. hires than veterans.

The first onboarding committee meeting was held Nov. 1 with the next one scheduled for mid-December.
 
Gundrum noted all staff who leave do an exit interview. Some of the more common reasons given for leaving include insufficient salary, training, development, culture, and not feeling valued or a part of the staff. Superintendent George Mavroulis also noted many who work in support staff positions don't meet the 30-hour minimum requirement to get benefits, which also is a factor in leaving.
 
Gundrum noted the mobility of teaching staff is greater than it used to be.

"It's rare now for staff to join a district, stay for 20 or 30 years and retire there,'' she said. "We all recognize that we are hiring from each other because there is more movement than ever before.''

Assistant Superintendent Sherri Cyra said opportunities for advancement also play a role in people leaving. One example she provided was some staff leaving for Madison Metropolitan to take instructional coaching positions because that district has more of those positions than MCPASD.

Mavroulis was also happy to reporter employee services is starting stay interviews in order to get feedback and find out why staff stay here and why they might look to leave.