Nassau School Board seeks answers on teacher retention amid shortage
Image via Wes Wolfe.

nassau school board ps1
A workshop is set for May 26.

It’s not getting easier to afford Nassau County living for young professionals, so the Nassau County School Board is looking at how to keep the teachers they have from leaving amid a teacher shortage crisis and rapid county development.

“I’ll say again, our quality will begin to suffer, not being able to fill positions,” Nassau County School District Superintendent Kathy Burns said at Thursday night’s Board meeting.

The Board scheduled a workshop for two hours before the members’ next meeting to work out the kinks in the proposed millage resolution. The packet of documents shared with the Board, related to the millage discussion, was not included in the online agenda.

“You’ll see some of the items outlined here are the teacher shortage,” Burns said. “Along with that, I just want you to know I did collect some information starting today on some of the resignations and the reasons, and some vacancies that we have.”

The document also addresses the change in the salary schedule per Gov. Ron DeSantis direction, and the district’s arts and athletics programs that aren’t funded.

“Our (school psychologist) Sarah Davis, who we recognized this evening, you probably already know that she’s leaving Southside (Elementary School) because she has a chance to work from home, and she has a new child, so that’s going to be a loss for us,” Burns said.

Board members are trying to narrow down retention issues that are in their power to address.

“In light of all these recent resignations today, and we may already do this, but do we have an exit survey?” Board member Lissa Braddock asked. She was told the district does in fact have one.

“I know this is nationwide, so it’s not only this county, but what is the No. 1 (issue)?,” Braddock responded.

Not every teacher who leaves chooses to fill out the exit survey, but for the ones who did, Burns had a list of their reasons.

“Today I’m not going to call out names (of teachers),” Burns said, “but I’m just going to give you — this is just from today’s agenda: moving, Georgia, working from home, taking a contracted position, Georgia, going to a charter school, Georgia, going to nursing school, going from a (teacher) to a (parent), making more money at Winn-Dixie.”

The teacher who left for the Winn-Dixie job didn’t do it for a corporate gig, Burns explained, but for one in the store.

“As you see in that resolution, it is a draft, and it addresses that because it’s a serious, critical issue,” Burns said.

The workshop is scheduled for May 26 at 4:30 p.m., before the regularly scheduled Board meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe


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