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More BDS teachers resigning for one common reason

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 10:56 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Some will tell you the Bay District Schools tax referendum being shot down last month was the final straw.

“I know because of COVID and the pandemic and everything we’ve been through, it’s been very stressful for teachers,” Deputy Superintendent Sandra Davis said.

Board members voiced their concern at Tuesday’s meeting with the rising number of teachers handing in their resignations. Davis said they ask that teachers put a reason for resigning.

“One of our teachers shared with me and actually wrote on his resignation paper that he was seeking better economic opportunities,” said Britt Smith, Arnold High’s principal.

Smith said he’s disappointed he’s losing three honors-level teachers. Something he said, is because of the poor pay. Chairman Steve Moss says the average teacher salary in the district is almost $44,000.

“With every teacher that leaves us, that’s an opportunity that we’re missing for our students to have the very best teachers possible,” said Smith.

According to the monthly report on the consent agenda Tuesday, 28 teachers, 15 full-time para-professionals, and 22 part-time paras will be leaving at the end of the school year. Davis said they do not have exact numbers yet of how many teachers have resigned so far.

“We certainly want to provide money for teachers, more money, because their job is the most important job we have,” said Davis.

Smith said he wants to see all teachers and employees paid more.

“The difficulty is, where does that money come from? How are we going to be able to make that happen?” said Smith.

Even though the tax referendum was shot down, Davis says they’re going to keep looking into other options to get more money for teachers and employees.

“We’ll be working with finance and the superintendent and the board and decide what we feel like we’ll be able to offer depending upon what our budget is,” said Davis.

A budget both Davis and Smith hope can keep talented teachers from walking out the door. Davis said they typically have 200 teachers total at the end of the school year transferring, retiring, or resigning. She adds they also average close to 200 new teachers at the start of every school year.

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