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Parents, former employees raise concerns over high turnover in Manitou Springs schools

District 14 faces scrutiny from some parents and former employees over high turnover rates.
Posted at 10:55 PM, Oct 17, 2022

MANITOU SPRINGS — On Monday night, multiple parents and some former employees of School District 14 in Manitou Springs, fired shots at the current Board of Education (BOE) over concerns for staff members and their wellbeing.

An anonymous letter from a current staff member said there has been a "pattern of dishonest behavior by the district", following suit with many other comments parents read for employees who they say fear retaliation from the district.

The concerns arose after one member of a grassroots effort, Stand Up For Manitou, says she and other parents noticed a pattern of some of their favorite employees leaving D14 to work at elsewhere.

"We are just a parent group. We have our own children within the district, and our goal is to help the staff to feel supported," said Brenda Holmes-Stanciu.

Stand Up For Manitou says they requested data from nine school districts in total (below); of those nine, Manitou Springs had the highest turnover rate for the last two years.

Data shared by Stand Up For Manitou depicting turnover rates in a variety of school districts.
Data shared by Stand Up For Manitou depicting turnover rates in a variety of school districts.

The group proceeded to conduct a survey through a third part, newmeasures, LLC, of employees who recently left D14. 61 teachers, staff, and administrators who left in the 20/21 and 21/22 school year were asked to complete the survey and 87% participated.

Many in Stand Up For Manitou were "surprised" that the reasons most frequently mentioned for leaving the district were not COVID-19 or salary. The top two reasons employees said they left were "District leadership" and "District culture", according to the survey.

"They are feeling that their suggestions, their ideas, their areas of expertise are being listened to and then just moved passed," said Holmes-Stanciu.

While she and other parents voiced their concerns to the BOE, others spoke in defense of the board. One woman said she believes there are a few angry voices who are loud, but the majority of the staff in D14 are happy.

After the board meeting finished on Monday, the district's superintendent issued a statement saying in part:

I invite former employees to meet to discuss any concerns or thoughts that would be helpful for progress. My door is always open, and I am always happy to talk in hallways, driveways, games, community events, etc.
Superintendent Elizabeth A. Domangue, PhD., Manitou Springs School District 14

The Superintendent also says the "new" HR team is working on rolling out a platform, Let's Talk, for sharing concerns and celebrations via an online platform where people can choose to be anonymous or not.
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