CASTLE ROCK — Claims that teachers are fleeing the Douglas County School District (DCSD) in record numbers have been called into question once again after the release of statistics showing just an 11.7 percent teacher turnover rate.
That number is in line with the 10 percent turnover rate that the Douglas County School district has averaged for the past few years. Returning teachers had until June 23 to sign their contracts.
DCSD terminated its contract with the union and stopped paying union officer salaries last year. The move saved the district thousands of dollars that were put back into the classroom, and towards improved compensation packages for teachers.
The total number of teachers leaving this year is 380, according to officials, the majority of which are retiring.
Other reasons given for teacher departures included going to teach in another district for more money, or that they were moving out of the area.
“While we did see an increase in the number of retirees, we are very pleased with the number of teachers returning to the district,” said Human Resources Officer Brian Cesare.
The number of retirees increased this year to 101 from 53 last year. DCSD attributes that increase to the fact that it has phased out the Extended Service Severance (ESS), which is a one-time lump sum payment to retiring teachers.
According to the district, the ESS payments averaged $38,000 on top of earned retirement benefits. The district chose to phase out the program in favor of investing more money into employee compensation.
“We have amazing teachers and we’re looking forward to an outstanding school year,” said Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen. “DCSD continues to maintain its position as a destination district for teachers.”
The district projects that it will add about 150 new teaching positions, not including charter schools. In total the district will have 3,600 teachers next year.