- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - It’s simple math in Beaufort County, where relatively low pay and a high cost of living add up to a high turnover among the county’s public school teachers.

The county’s 12 percent teacher turnover rate is among the highest in South Carolina, the Beaufort Gazette reports (https://bit.ly/1ENXGgb).

About one in 10 of the county’s teachers are leaving their jobs at the end of the school year. Fifty-five others left during the year and 40 positions were not filled when classes started last summer.

“We have lost a lot of good teachers from our schools, which hurts students,” said longtime school board member Earl Campbell during the board’s discussions of attracting and retaining teachers. “We should pay them what they are worth and what we need to keep them here.”

The state Commerce Department says it’s more expensive to live in Beaufort County than in any other county in the state.

The newspaper reports that teachers, especially new teachers, struggle to afford housing, food and other necessities and often decide to leave the area.

After four years in the district, first-grade teacher Katelyn Roberts has decided she’s had enough of working four jobs and is leaving the classroom. She’s heading back to Ohio where the cost of living is less and she can put all of her focus on being a classroom teacher.

“When I think of (Beaufort County) teacher salaries, it means four jobs just to make ends meet,” Robert said. “It means no rest. It means constant stress. And it means not being able to devote the time and energy to the classroom that I want.”

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Information from: The Beaufort Gazette, https://www.beaufortgazette.com

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