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Bobby Ray hit hard by teacher transfers
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Mid-year teacher transfers are causing issues at Bobby Ray Elementary. 

Principal Monti Hillis came before the School Board to discuss possible procedures to alleviate classroom disruption, school instability, and less-qualified replacement teachers.

“It has hit Bobby Ray harder than most,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox. “We’ve had one group of students that had four teachers in the school year. That’s an example, but it’s not commonplace.”

Cox explained to the School Board that its current model is if someone vacates a position in the school system, or if they go on a medical or pregnancy leave, then that position is posted online to allow anyone to apply, including teachers from other schools.

“If that principal recommends them, I’ve never stopped them from going to that position,” said Cox. “It could be for various reasons … dream job or grade-level change. Legally, we can hold that teacher for 30 days, but I’ve always said if you are not happy and want to leave, then we will try to find someone to cover the class.”

After some discussion, the majority of School Board members were primarily concerned with mid-year teacher turnover. These departures can negatively impact students and make it challenging for educators to create and maintain a collaborative work environment.

“West has very similar demographics and not as many internal transfers,” said School Board member Tanya Bess. “I think if you have a policy to that and teachers know that’s in place for Warren County, it could be a hindrance to our hiring process.”

Although mid-year teacher transfers don’t occur as frequently as end-of-year turnover, it’s more prevalent than most people think.

“I don’t have a problem with them leaving at the end of the school year, but I had three classrooms affected by mid-year teacher transfers this year,” said Hillis. “I even had a teacher last year at our open house come up and say ‘Hate to tell you right now but I’m going to transfer’ and she had just met those parents 10 minutes before.”

The School Board deliberated on establishing a transfer period or differentiated pay option. A decision was not reached as Cox works to determine a solution that doesn’t hold teachers back but doesn’t cause educational issues in the classroom.