WAUKESHA, Wis. — The growing number of teachers and staff leaving the School District of Waukesha has colleagues and families concerned.
"Currently at 54 resignations for this school year. That's double what it was two years ago and increases every year. That doesn't even include the data from July and August," Carrie Kummrow, president of the Education Association of Waukesha, said.
The union president clarified the 54 resignations were from April, May, and June alone.
Kummrow cited several reasons teachers are leaving, including lack of professional trust, concerns about COVID safety protocols, continuously being asked to do more with less and without proper compensation, and lack of diversity, inclusion and equity.
Public school districts in Milwaukee, Racine, and Green Bay approved 4.7% cost of living increases for teachers for the upcoming year.
Kummrow said Waukesha's board offered a base 2.5% along with a $1,000 stipend and supplemental pay for some staff, however that still has to be voted on.
The biggest concern is how a revolving door of staff will affect student achievement.
Kummrow believes it will take systemic change from the school board to draw in and keep teachers in Waukesha.
"The fact that it is on the board's agenda this evening sends a hopeful message so that's that's all we can hope for," Kummrow said.
TMJ4 News reached out to district officials and school board members but did not get a response to questions.
RECAP OF THE MEETING
In Wednesday's meeting, there was a back and forth about the district losing teachers and why.
According to the local teacher's union, the number of teachers leaving the School District of Waukesha has doubled over the last two years.
"This isn't an issue. This isn't going to go away. You can't just wait it out," said parent David Simmons.
Despite the departures, others in the meeting expressed support for the board and some of its recent decisions believed to be the reasons teachers have left.
"I just want to say thank you. Back to basics," said parent Kathy Keller.
We spoke with some resigning teachers, who cited issues such as salary caps and politicization as means to resign.
"It's been really challenging working here the last several years," said Amy Menzel, who is resigning. "I have not been given a raise in five years. The district's pay model has topped me out."
Following public comment, the board shared numbers telling another story. So far this year 63 teachers have resigned from the district. However, data for 2022 only covered the first six months of the year.
The number of resignations in 2022 so far, is approaching the totals for 2018 and 2019.