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[PLUGGED IN] Cool and Calculating

October November 2007

The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) recently estimated the national cost of public school teacher turnover at more than $7.3 billion a year. A policy brief based on an 18-month pilot study of five school districts in Chicago; Milwaukee; Granville, North Carolina; and Santa Rosa and Jemez Valley, New Mexico, is available at www.nctaf.org.

The organization developed the Teacher Turnover Cost Calculator, which can be accessed at their Web site, to estimate costs to schools or districts anywhere in the country. Shown here are numbers from Granville County to illustrate how the calculator works. The number of teachers leaving and the number of schools are accurate, with additional costs plugged in from the calculator’s estimates for nonurban school districts. Dave Bennett, the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources and operations, calls the research a valuable learning experience for his school system. “I like to think this research helped our district focus. The calculator will entice people to do real research,” he says.

How many teachers left your district last year? For Granville County during the 2006–2007 school year, the number is: 79

The central office’s estimated cost per teacher leaving a nonurban school district is $6,250. Therefore, the estimated cost of turnover for the central office is: $493,750

How many schools are located in your district? For Granville County, the number is: 15

The average cost-per-school of teacher turnover in a nonurban district is $33,000. Thus, the estimated school-level cost of Granville County’s turnover is:
$495,000

The total cost to the district is:
$988,750

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