Action News Jax Investigates: Increase in teacher resignations in local public school districts

Local teachers say poor communication may be reason for employee turnover

Through an Action News Jax investigation, different public school systems in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, have reported an increase in teacher resignations and personnel changes in the last academic school year.

Reporter Elizabeth Pace reported about the record number of teachers quitting their jobs across the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They reported the highest rate of resignations since 2001.

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St. Johns County School District reported 243 teacher resignations last academic school year, out of 3,216 teachers. In the 2015-2016 year, they had 208 resignations and 47 retirements out of 2,857 teachers. A spokesperson said resigning for other personal reasons is the reason most often given.

Action News Jax made the same request to Duval and Clay counties’ public school systems last week and we're still waiting to hear back.

However, a DCPS spokesperson said they have processed more than 1,400 personnel changes -- including resignations, retirement, hiring and reassignments.

“During the day, we’re legally their parents and that responsibility is worth a lot more than what we’re getting,” DCPS teacher Jason Martelle said.

Martelle said he is in his fourth year of teaching elementary students with DCPS, and now in his third school. He said through his yearly reassignment, the communication from the distract was “lacking.”

“There’s a measurement by which I get to keep my job, there’s a measurement by which the students’ progress, is this one going to affect this and vice versa,” Martelle said.

Martelle and other local teachers told Action News Jax that salary is a top concern leading the drop in their profession.

“It’s not enough, plain and simple,” Martelle said. “We get paid what we get paid for 7.3 hours a day, which is public information. We’re expected to work 10 to 12 hours a day on average to be able to actually do what we have to do.”

As a recruiting initiative, DCPS offers a program to help candidates earn a certification for a potential elementary school position called “Ready, Set, Teach.”

A spokesperson also said they just launched a new initiative called S.T.A.R.T. This is for current DCPS employees with an associate's degree and a desire to teach. The program offers an opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in education at a low cost.

St. Johns County School District said they also work with the University of North Florida to help candidates gain certification for their system.