R-III Board continues to wrestle with staffing challenge

District saw highest turnover in years last spring

John Rohlf, Staff Writer
Posted 9/26/22

The Warren County R-III School District administration is looking at ways to retain staff after seeing an increase in turnover from last school year. 

The school district’s turnover …

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R-III Board continues to wrestle with staffing challenge

District saw highest turnover in years last spring

Posted

The Warren County R-III School District administration is looking at ways to retain staff after seeing an increase in turnover from last school year. 

The school district’s turnover rate of “certified staff” — positions such as teachers, librarians and counselors — from last year to this year was 18 percent, according to information shared by the district. There were 51 new hires for the 2022-2023 school year, which is 15 more hires than last school year. There were 21 new hires in the 2020-2021 school year. 

The district’s retention rate for classified staff — employees such as bus drivers, custodians and office staff — was better than each of the previous two years. The district also has seven new administrators this school year, after having two new administrators last year. Of the seven administrators in new positions, two positions were filled by personnel already working for the district. 

“Since we switched to the four day weeks, this has been by far our worst year we’ve had on people leaving the district,” Warren County R-III Superintendent Gregg Klinginsmith said. “It includes last year. I think we set a record for people leaving in the middle of the year. So that’s all included in this as well. It was a bad year last year.”

Despite the challenges created with the vacancies and the teacher shortage nationwide, Warren County R-III is fully staffed with certified staff for the current school year. The district is still trying to fill 25 classified staffing positions, including paraprofessionals, custodians, bus drivers and food service. 

The district’s attempts to fill the vacancies was further challenged this summer by 11 applicants accepting jobs and resigning prior to the start date. Of the 11 applicants who resigned, six were teachers, four were paraeducators and one was for an administrative position. Many of the resignations cited another job opportunity as the reason for the resignation. 

“Despite the unusual challenges that were presented, our principals and directors were able to become fully staffed with certified staff by the beginning of the year, which is not an insignificant accomplishment,” Assistant Superintendent Brad Ross said. “Some districts were not able to do so. That is an incredible accomplishment.”

Ross also highlighted the contributions of the classified staff to the district. With the staff shortage and number of new hires, the classified staff are required to do more for the district. 

“I can’t really say enough about all those people,” Ross said. “All of them are really going above and beyond. … They’re covering more than they should have to and they’re our heroes right now, for lack of a better word. Those people are definitely our successes.”

Ross outlined a three-part plan for the district as they look to obtain a 90-percent retention rate. He believes the district will need to become more active in its recruiting and retention efforts. He also believes the district needs to develop a “Grow Your Own” program from a high school student level to senior leader level. It must also continue to work towards raising salaries for all employees, Ross said. 

“I spoke to our para shortage earlier,” Ross said. “We had multiple candidates this week we were trying to push through. When we get to the salary portion, that’s when they’re like, ‘OK, I have these other things on the table and I think that maybe I’ll pursue one of those.’ That’s the challenge that we’re up against.”

Warren County School District, Staffing, Turnover

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