Indy schools works to retain teachers after 200 resign, retire

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Public Schools is turning to a national organization for help find teachers. IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee presented a report to the school board Tuesday night that showed a large amount of teachers are stepping down.

Personnel reports show nearly 200 teachers and employees have resigned or retired in the past three months.

Rhondalyn Cornett, a former IPS teacher, and now the president of the Indianapolis Education Association, has scoured the personnel report and she doesn’t like what she sees. In July alone, almost 70 people have said they won’t be coming back to school this fall.

“I am sad that we’re losing so many good teachers, because a lot of them have been teaching for a number of years,” said Cornett.

IPS says it’s not unusual for teachers to resign during the summer months, but education leaders say with so many good teachers leaving, something has to change.

“I think it’s definitely the benefits and pay, but it’s more than that. It’s climate and the culture that exists,” said Teresa Meredith, Indiana State Teachers Association president.

“I keep hearing from a lot of teachers is respect. A lot of them just do not feel respected,” said Cornett.

Meredith says many teachers are taking jobs outside of IPS, to avoid the risk of being transferred to a new school multiple times over the course of a year.

“That creates some instability, it creates a sense of great unknown when you’re wanting a teaching position and you want to be able to stay with one group of students or with one building,” said Meredith.

The IPS Board just approved a contract with The New Teacher Project, an organization that helps schools attract and retain quality teachers. But some people wonder if that’s where IPS money should be going.

“It just seems like that’s money that we could be using to actually pay the teachers,” said Cornett.

In a statement, IPS told News 18′s sister station WISH-TV it is common for districts to have more movement late in the summer as people wait until after vacations or until an offer is set in stone somewhere else.

IPS also said it is investigating this trend and ways to improve teacher retention and anticipation of personnel changes over the summer.

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