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Troup County School System conducts 47 exit interviews

The Troup County School System has conducted 47 exit interviews, talking to employees who have either accepted other job offers or retired in recent months.

The information gathered from those reviews was discussed at the school board’s Monday night work session.  Much of the feedback was positive,  74 percent of employees said they believed their accomplishments were recognized by TCSS and 83 percent said they had the tools to be successful.  Seventy-seven percent said they recommend TCSS as a good place to work.

However, Chief Human Resources Officer Chip Medders also pointed to some trends that the school system would like to see altered. Twenty-two of the 35 certified employees that left did so after only one to five years.

“It’s not just a Troup County School System problem. That’s a problem statewide and probably outside the state of Georgia,” Medders said. “A lot of people are leaving the profession.”

Six of the employees interviewed said that they were leaving because their new company offered more money, but only three said they started looking for a new job because of pay. Fourteen, or 30 percent, of the employees interviewed said they left because they were moving. Nineteen said they were retiring, which was the top reason employees left.

Other reasons included that they were disgruntled (7), stress (2), they got a promotion (1) and social life (1).

Employees were also asked for three things they would change about the school system. The top answers included less top-down programs (10), discipline (10) and pay (3). Other items submitted included duty-free lunch, where teachers essentially would have lunch off, class sizes, more substitutes and increased communication.

Medders said at this point it appears the teacher retention rate has improved. The school system has had to hire around 75 employees for the upcoming school year after hiring 120 last year.

Other topics discussed Monday include:

The Troup County School Board will vote Thursday on a request to provide additional funding to the Troup County Archives. In April, the TCSS board heard from Shannon Gavin Johnson, executive director of the Troup County Archives, who asked the school system to increase its funding. TCSS currently pays the archives $30,000 to store, maintain, preserve and pull records, but if passed on Thursday, that funding would increase to $98,410 and would equal the amount Troup County and LaGrange currently pay the archives to maintain their records. Interim Superintendent Dr. Roy Nichols will also recommend an additional $187,091.91 be transferred to Troup County to support renovation of Fort Georgia, the old 911 center currently used by the archives. Johnson said in April that with a renovation, Fort Georgia could hold another 6,000 boxes.

The board will also vote on the superintendent’s recommendation to approve the purchase of 16 kit cars from GreenpowerUSA and seven trailers from Trailers for Less. The cars cost $55,960 and the trailers cost $39,450. GreenpowerUSA is a STEM initiative where students program, design, build and race student-driven electric racecars.

The board will also vote on the fiscal year 2020 general fund budget. The total budget is expected to be $118,029,104, with a $1.8 million deficit, or less, when voted on Thursday. Even with the deficit, TCSS is expected to have $17 million in its general fund budget by June 2020. The board will also vote on the 2020 state and federal grant budget, which results in a $631,729 deficit, entirely due to food service cost.

The superintendent will recommend that the board approve a tax anticipation note proposal from PNC Bank for $20 million with a 2.19 percent interest rate. The TAN is a necessity due to the ongoing, simultaneous construction of the LaGrange High and Troup High gymnasiums.

The superintendent will recommend that the Unity School is reopened as a potential Professional Learning Center for high school students. Nichols is also recommending the board pass a resolution to make The HOPE Academy a designated school site, rather than just a program.