R-III school board revisits teacher retention as struggle continues

John Rohlf, Staff Writer
Posted 5/16/22

The Warren County R-III School Board continues to look at ways to retain teachers in the district.

During a recent discussion on board goals for the upcoming year, board member Jeff Schneider …

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R-III school board revisits teacher retention as struggle continues

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The Warren County R-III School Board continues to look at ways to retain teachers in the district.

During a recent discussion on board goals for the upcoming year, board member Jeff Schneider stressed he believes teachers are a huge part of the district’s culture of success.

“Not just the actual educating of students, but we want them to be proud to be a Warrenton teacher, too,” Schneider said. “And obviously that probably starts with us and administration and boils through all levels.”

He did not know what metrics the district has available to judge how much teachers love working at Warrenton. He noted the district has struggled to reach its goal of a 91% retention rate.

The district can glean some information from the climate survey sent to staff, Superintendent Gregg Klinginsmith said.

Board President Ginger Schenck noted they have heard from teachers about being stressed or believing they need more support. She also stressed the challenges the district is facing because they cannot offer the same amount of money as other districts.

“We know we’ve talked about money a lot, when somebody can go down the road and make so much more,” Schenck said. “And if they’re not embedded in the community, it becomes a little bit easier to do that. I would love to figure out a way that we create a place to work that people love it so much that they’re very enthusiastic about staying here.”

When board member Rich Barton worked in the district, one of his priorities was working at the same school his children were enrolled. It was important to their family, he said.

He conceded it is hard for teachers in their 20s to turn down money they can make at other districts.

“Every teacher that’s ever taught with me here has said the only thing they enjoy more at their new school is the money,” Barton said.

Klinginsmith noted the importance for the district to be able to recruit in their backyard. This is something they are not able to do right now, he said.

“If we get (property value) reassessment like they’re talking about happening and (property tax) money keeps continuing to do well, we might be able to do some things where we change the way we bring people in from outside and place them on our salary schedules,” Klinginsmith said. “Even though we can’t pay as much, if we can get them as high as we can get them and then offer a four-day week for them, we might be able to recruit a couple people that live here and work here.”

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