Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CMS board: Who's leaving, why?

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is back to pre-recession hiring levels,  HR Chief Daniel Habrat told the school board Tuesday night.

"CMS is open for hire, and we have about every kind of job that you can think of," Habrat said during an update on his department.  "Let our community know that we are interested in strong performers. Come talk to us."

The latest listings show 295 instructional positions  (teachers, counselors, etc.)  and 107 other jobs, including two in the $140,000 to $160,000 pay range:  Chief accountability officer (testing and data) and chief information officer (technology).

Several board members wanted to know more about what's creating the openings.  Rhonda Lennon said she's seen online comments indicating that people are fleeing because the district is so bad.  She asked whether Habrat had information that could counter that claim,  such as a report putting CMS turnover into national context.  He said he'd look into it,  but repeated what he's said before:  The biggest reason for increased turnover is educators seeking jobs in other fields.  "Our people are good,  they're attractive and other people want them,"  Habrat said.

Joyce Waddell asked which employers are luring away CMS employees.  Habrat said exit surveys don't ask that question.

Vice Chairman Mary McCray asked for numbers on teacher and principal retirements.  Habrat said the numbers are "not huge,"  with about 600 teachers retiring this year  (CMS has almost 8,800).  He said he didn't have numbers on principal retirements handy.

"Could we get those?" McCray pressed.

Waddell asked whether assistant principals are getting opportunities for promotion. She said she's been hearing from African American men that they tend to be assigned to handle discipline and get stuck there.

Habrat said principal openings are  "highly competitive,"  with four assistants for every principal job. (The latest payroll indicates a 2:1 ratio, counting assistant principals and deans of students. Habrat said today his calculation includes facilitators, who are also part of the leadership "pipeline.")  Habrat and interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said assistant principals need to seek leadership opportunities so they'll have a track record when an opening occurs.

Board Chairman Ericka Ellis-Stewart told Habrat that she has been hearing diversity concerns similar to what Waddell voiced,  and urged his department to "do what we can to remove barriers."

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