17 teachers left Cherokee Charter last year
by Michelle Babcock
June 19, 2014 12:54 AM | 6192 views | 6 6 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More than a dozen teachers resigned from Cherokee’s sole charter school during or after the past school year, with six of them slated to be hired by the school district at the Cherokee Board of Education meeting tonight.

Cherokee Charter Academy lost 17 teachers last school year, said Colleen Reynolds, spokeswoman for Charter Schools USA — the management company of Cherokee Charter Academy.

According to reports in 2013, with a total of 80 employees at the school, almost 20 percent of the school’s employees turned in their resignation in the last year. The number counts only teacher resignations.

Reynolds was unable to provide information on how many teachers or total employees now work at Cherokee Charter Academy.

The Cherokee County School Board is slated to hire six of those teachers at its meeting tonight, said Cherokee School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby.

“In addition to these six teachers, CCSD hired one teacher from CCA during the 2012-13 school year,” Jacoby said.

Reynolds said of the 17 resignations last school year, 10 came after Spring Break, three happened in May and June, and four more occurred throughout the year.

The charter school, which includes elementary and middle school grades, reported an average of about 1,100 students last school year.

In March, the charter school reported 838 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, and 214 students in seventh and eighth grade, based on Georgia Department of Education FTE numbers.

Knox Elementary School has the closest enrollment to Cherokee Charter Academy’s elementary grades, Jacoby said.

“Knox had 869 students in grades K through six, according to the March FTE count. CCA had 838 students in grades K through six in the same count,” Jacoby said. “Knox employs 51 certified employees, (including) teachers and two administrators. Since August 2013, including this Thursday’s agenda items, one teacher has retired from Knox and one resigned.”

Based on Cherokee Charter Academy’s five-year budget prediction, the school planned for 54 teachers. If the school lost 17 to resignation in the 2013-14 school year, Cherokee Charter Academy lost 31 percent, or nearly one-third, of its teachers.

Jacoby said no district middle schools are close to the charter school’s size, so there’s “no comparison.”

Out of all school district elementary and middle schools, the school that lost the most teachers to resignation last year was Canton Elementary School STEM Academy, losing six teachers, or about 8 percent of its total employees, Jacoby said.

“The school employs 70 certified employees, (including) teachers and two administrators, and 917 students in grades K through six were enrolled as of the March FTE count,” Jacoby said.

Canton Elementary, in losing six teachers out of 68, saw a loss of about 9 percent of its total number of teachers.

Jacoby said, in addition to hiring six teachers from Cherokee Charter Academy at its meeting tonight, the district is also looking to hire a counselor who came from the charter school.

“CCSD does offer a competitive salary and benefit package that includes eligibility for participation in the State Health Benefit Plan and Teacher Retirement System,” Jacoby said.

Comments
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Makes Sense
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June 19, 2014
Why would any teacher work at a charter school? It's better to work in the District, where you're guaranteed annual step raises and cushy retirement packages no matter how mediocre you or your students' performance is.

Charter school teachers can be fired at will or for poor student performance whereas district teachers can slouch along for years with minimal effort and still reap all the benefits that the handful of great district teachers get.

It makes sense to resign from the competitive charter environment and step down into a district role, where there's no real accountability for an individual.
Bubba57
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June 19, 2014
17 out of 80 is "almost 20 percent"? Another scathing indictment of our educational system.
Woodstock-AADBDS
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June 19, 2014
Was it truly necessary to have the comparison to CCSD schools in the article? Seems that if the article is about CCA that the majority of the quotes would be from CCA, not CCSD. Guess rumors are more Intriguing than facts.. When are you going to start reporting news and facts, Michelle?
Acme Fence Co.
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June 20, 2014
CCA won't speak to the media, only their Florida PR person is authorized to talk for them (I'm not sure how that is "local control" for a charter school). I would guess the CCSD comparison is to show what turnover looks like at a "regular" school, so you can judge for yourself whether 17 is an extreme number.
Gladys Kravitz
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June 19, 2014
Charter Schools USA offers a competitive salary for new teachers, but there is no guaranteed step increase. Once you've been there for a few years, you start making less than your district peers. Eventually, every CSUSA teacher will try to leave simply to make more money.
Ering
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June 19, 2014
Teacher salaries at charter schools will never come close to public school salaries. Charter schools are "for profit". The less they pay, the more they make. Voting for Charters in Georgia was a huge mistake. There will always be high teacher turnover. They don't care about the teachers or the students. It's all about PROFITS!
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