Less teacher experience, high turnover rate at unsatisfactory CCSD schools

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District is working on plans to fix its failing schools, but a look at new numbers show test scores aren’t the only thing that’s low.

As part of a CCSD school board budget presentation, CCSD Chief Financial Officer Don Kennedy presented numbers that show that a sample of unsatisfactory rated CCSD elementary schools have less teacher experience and drastically lower test scores than average and excellent rated CCSD schools. The unsatisfactory schools also have higher teacher turnover rate and a higher number of out of school suspensions.

“You have the inexperienced teachers working with the some of the most challenging work in the district,” Kennedy said during a budget presentation.

Kennedy was showing the board the numbers as he briefed them on the budget, and for them to consider programs to change these numbers.

The cost per pupil is nearly $5,000 higher at the unsatisfactory schools.

The unsatisfactory elementary schools listed in this presentation were Burns Elementary, Mary Ford Elementary, Chicora Elementary, and North Charleston Elementary.

The average years teacher experience between these schools is an average of eight years. Those schools also have a 24 percent turnover rate. The SC Ready scores range from 8.8 to 11 for math and English. There were also 120 out of school suspensions.

The excellent rated schools had an average of 14.34 years experience, a 10 percent turnover rate, and SC Ready scores in the 70’s range. Those schools also had nine expulsions.

Kennedy said these numbers were over a five year span.

“Not only is the teacher experience low, it perpetuates itself because of that high turnover. For me, it’s a system that takes the least experienced people and have them do the work that is some of the most challenging work,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy also presented program options for the board to consider.

The school board is continuing to look at approving the district budget.

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