By Candace Birkelbach
Killeen Daily Herald
Each year, the Killeen Independent School District must fill the shoes of about 300 to 350 teachers who leave the district each year for various reasons.
Despite the obvious reason of relocation related to the military, other reasons teachers leave KISD include taking jobs in a different district, getting promotions within the district and family reasons.
Steve Cook, executive director for personnel services, said the most popular reason teachers leave the district is due to family relocation, be it military or civilian.
Cook said the number of teachers who leave each year is fairly steady, hovering around 300 to 350. Cook said he anticipates about the same result this year.
There are 2,730 teachers in the KISD system this year, so 300 teachers leaving would be about 11 percent. If 350 teachers leave, that would be about 13 percent.
To replace these teachers, the hiring process usually begins in March and continues right up to the day before school starts, Cook said.
Cook said he gets close to filling all the vacant positions by commencement of the new school year, but some spots are filled during the school year.
For the 2007-08 school year, more than 500 new teachers were hired with about 20 positions still vacant in September.
The district attracts new teachers by offering a signing bonus, which many other districts do not offer.
This year, starting salary for a new teacher will be $40,000 – plus a $1,590 signing bonus.
Although beginning salary for KISD teachers is higher relative to surrounding districts like Belton ISD, most teachers in KISD have been with the district for five years or less.
For the 2006-07 school year, teachers with zero to five years experience made up 47 percent of the teacher population at KISD. Teachers with six-to-10 years with the district totaled 20 percent; those with 11-20 years equaled 19 percent and those with 21-30 years at KISD totaled 14 percent.
Cook said there are a lot of teachers new to the field at KISD.
Barbara Tate, executive director of human resources at Copperas Cove ISD, said KISD and CCISD do end up trading some of their teachers.
Tate said 21 teachers transferred from KISD to CCISD for the 2007-08 school year.
This makes up almost 20 percent of CCISD's teaching population, Tate said.
Tate said she in unsure of the reasons teachers transfer between the two districts.
"If I had to guess, it could be having a smaller district, living closer to home or that we are doing great thing with our pre-kindergarten program," Tate said.
Elaine Brown, campus instructional coordinator at Martin Walker Elementary, said she has taught in CCISD for 23 years, because the district puts children first.
"Every principal I've worked with has put children first," Brown said.
Suzanne Roberts, second grade teacher at Fowler elementary, said has continued teaching in KISD for the past four years because she loves the curriculum.
"Its challenging, but I love the way we teach," Roberts said.
Roberts said the children make her job fun.
"They might have to kick me out of there," Roberts said.
Cook said KISD has improved its turnover rate in recent years.
For the 2005-06 school year, the turnover rate was 17.2 percent and in 2006-07 it was 15.1 percent.
"Thats remarkable considering we are right next to Fort Hood," Cook said. "That tells me teachers like it here."
Cook said that when teachers apply for a job at KISD, they generally come certified and know what they're qualified to teach.
The No Child Left Behind Act places requirements on the number of content hours teachers must have to be able to teach certain subjects and grad levels.
Cook said a teacher may really want to teach second grade, but will accept teaching third grade if that position is needed.
Cook said the district negotiates with teachers and they accept their second choice in hopes that next year, their principal will grant their first choice.
Cook said that decision is up to the principals, however, but he has seen it happen.
"They take into consideration the desires of teachers," Cook said.
Contact Candace Birkelbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7553