Contributor: John Doughney, longtime former GCISD employee
Two hundred forty-two professional staff members left GCISD between January 1, 2022 and July 14, 2022. More left after that date, and more will continue to leave. Typical? I think not. According to TEA, in 2020, GCISD reported 1914 total staff with 981 of these being teachers and 310 administrators and professional support staff. So, just about 1300 professional staff. According to my calculations, that’s about 19% attrition.
Although this is not significantly higher than the state average of 16.8%, it is still troubling. Of the professionals who separated from the district, 10% moved out of the area, 13% retired, 17% are pursuing another career, 23% are now working in surrounding districts, and 33% left for personal reasons.
The district always loses good people because they move or have opportunities elsewhere. What should concern us is a third leaving for personal reasons, a quarter benefiting neighboring districts, and 17 percent pursuing other careers. Of the 242, only 54 left because they were retiring or moving. All but 17 left between May and July.
You can draw your own conclusions, but 73% leaving the district to work in other districts, to work in the private sector, or for personal reasons should be alarming. Some will contend that this is just the cost of doing business these days. What I’ve learned from those I’ve interviewed tells a different story. A primary factor for their leaving is a culture of fear and distrust. As a GCISD veteran said, “I don’t want people to know I work for Grapevine-Colleyville.”
So, while the new board majority and their sycophants are celebrating a “balanced budget”, discovering millions of unallocated dollars, and eliminating 18,500 vendors, GCISD is hemorrhaging talent that can never be replaced. Amidst all these adult shenanigans, somehow we’ve lost sight of our real purpose - to serve the 14,000 students of GCISD. Losing incredible talent because a board demanded a “balanced budget” did nothing but hurt these kids for years to come. They deserve better!
It’s critical to be informed as a voter. Ask questions. If you know someone who left GCISD, ask them why. If you have questions about the budget process, ask someone who develops it. Most importantly, if you truly want to know what goes on in classrooms, ask a teacher. Better yet, go see for yourself. You might be amazed at what you see - don’t just take my word for it.