Dallas ISD Struggling With Staff Turnover At Some Schools

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Several resignations within the Dallas Independent School District are serving to highlight its struggle with staff turnover.

Parents with children attending Lakewood Elementary School learned that the principal is leaving after only one year on the job. Lori Kirkpatrick, whose daughter is preparing to enter the third grade there, said that it is no longer surprising to see the principal leave. “We’ll be going on our fourth principal,” she said.

And just two miles away, Woodrow Wilson High School will be seeing its fourth principal in a year and a half.

“I think it’d be nice if we could find someone who could stay for a while,” Kirkpatrick said.

It is not just administrators who are leaving, either. Alliance-AFT, which represents the Dallas ISD’s teachers, said that many of its members are exiting too. “They’re finding better jobs that pay more, or they’re finding a better field,” said the group’s executive vice president, George Rangel.

Rangel blames a rigorous new teacher evaluation system and low pay. “Teachers that get started begin to grasp the profession and see that there’s not a future here for them, as far as salaries,” he said.

Kirkpatrick was so frustrated with the teacher turnover that she ran for a position on the district’s school board, losing by a narrow margin. With strong parent and community support in Lakewood, she is not too worried about its schools, but how the trend will play out over the rest of the district.

“This is an affluent area,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s going to thrive. It’s the impoverished area that needs the help and that’s where the struggle is going to be.”

A spokesperson for the Dallas ISD said that the district needed time to respond to questions about the recent resignations and staff turnover.

UPDATE: Dallas ISD Wednesday night responded to requests for information on staff turnovers. The district maintains, despite recent resignations, overall retention has improved. A spokesperson told CBS11 it has increased retention from 82 percent of its staff last year to 85 percent this year.

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