ISER Director Ralph Townsend and ISER faculty Diane Hirshberg provided information on school funding and the retention and turnover of teachers in Alaska at the February Alaska Municipal League (AML) Winter Legislative Meeting in Juneau. AML is an organization of cities, boroughs, and unified municipalities representing over 97% of Alaska residents

Townsend provided a tutorial on school funding to the AML. That information was directly relevant to understanding current proposals to reduce state funding for schools.

Hirshberg, former CAEPR director, discussed critical factors influencing why teachers stay or leave Alaska and what it costs when a teacher decides to leave. She pointed out that the cost of turnover is more than monetary, high teacher turnover is also associated with poor student achievement.

Overall teacher turnover costs the state at least $20 million a year with costs and turnover higher in rural communities. ISER/CAEPR studies report the Cost of Teacher Turnover (2017); provide a Salary & Benefits Schedule and Teacher Tenure Study (2015); and discuss a number of factors, not just money, are involved in recruiting and retaining teachers in rural Alaska (2018).