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I-TEAM: Tracking local teacher turnover as school year begins

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 6:57 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Students prepare to ring in the school year by welcoming hundreds of new teachers to the classroom. This comes after the I-Team found a mass exodus of local educators during the pandemic. We’re tracking the numbers for parents.

Between Columbia, Richmond, and Burke counties, we found nearly 500 hundred teachers left the classrooms last school year.

Let’s start in Columbia County, where we found the most significant change during the pandemic. Teacher resignations rose by more than 40 percent last school year. It jumped by more than 50 percent when we compare it to the 2018-2019 “Before times” school year. 89 teachers resigned. The following year: 96. This past school year: 136. Add in retirements (53) and Columbia County lost a total of 189 educators.

We found a similar issue with replacing teachers in Burke County, where 39 teachers either resigned or retired last school year but only 28 new teachers were hired.

Let’s zoom into our largest school district, Richmond County. Nearly 400 teachers left their classrooms last school year. The vast majority resigned of them resigned, 336 to be exact. Here’s the good news: More teachers are coming back this school year. Only 203 resigned. The district hired a lot more teachers for 2021-2022, too. More than 300 new educators will welcome students into Richmond County classrooms in the morning.

Burke County and Columbia County do not yet have the number of teachers who will not be returning this school year. But Columbia County did tell us they hired more than 330 new teachers for the 2021-2022 school year. We requested the same information from Aiken Public School District. We have not yet received it.

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