The number of Gainesville teachers requesting to work at other schools for the 2017-18 school year has spiked, apparently caused by the opening of the new Mundy Mill elementary school in August.
Of 67 employees filing letters of intent to transfer, 48 said they would prefer to work at the new school.
The requests recently filed with the district are almost double the number of transfer requests made during the past two school years combined, according to a report presented to Gainesville school officials this week.
Almost half of the overall number of transfer requests came from two schools alone — Gainesville Middle with 17 and Fair Street International with 16.
Gainesville Middle School Principal Rose Prejean-Harris said at first sight the number of transfer requests appears high, but it doesn’t really tell the whole story. Of the 17, she said four are paraprofessionals and one is a cafeteria worker.
Historically, Prejean-Harris said another handful of teachers annually seek to transfer to the high school, either because they would like to coach or teach at that level. However, she said openings at high schools don’t often materialize and those teachers usually stay put at the school.
Other teachers, she said, simply want to work closer to where they live.
“We have teachers who travel at least an hour,” Prejean-Harris said. “When they can move closer to home, they’ll take that opportunity.”
Looking over the report at Monday night’s work session, school board member Sammy Smith said 46 percent of those requesting a transfer have five years of experience or more.
“That’s a nice balance,” Smith said.
Superintendent Wanda Creel said that balance in experience is important for the district’s new elementary school, Mundy Mill.
“We want that balance in making sure that we didn’t have a brand new school that only had brand new teachers ...,” Creel said. “Looking over this, we really do have a good balance of people, and I know that we will find a great team to start Mundy Mill.”
Creel added that the district will have “great teachers in place at all of our schools.”
“We value our employees, and we’re just trying to make sure we have the right people in the right school,” Creel said.