LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — According to a report by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, nearly 7,000 educators left their classrooms in Louisiana last year.

The BESE report provides information on teacher departures for the 2021-22 school year, when the rate of teachers leaving rose by 14%.

The report took exit interview results of teachers who left the classroom to help with finding solutions to support educators and retain their services.

The report lists the top three reasons why teachers departed: personal reasons, found another teaching or leadership job and retirement.

KLFY spoke with people in Lafayette to get their input on how to keep Louisiana teachers teaching.

“Pay more. It’s pretty simple I think,” local resident Craig Mantey said.

Over the years, the state and some school districts have worked to bump up teacher pay. The BESE’s passage of a new funding formula is slated to provide $257 million in pay raises for teachers, including $2,000 for all teachers and another $61 million to meet some of the state’s greatest staffing challenges in the classroom.

Local resident David Billiot says it’s going to take more than a bump in pay to keep educators in front of the class.

“Discipline of the kids, because you can pay anybody as much as you want.  It’s teachers having to deal with the kids at the school and that they get tired of it, in my opinion,” Billiot said.

According to the report, only 3% of the educators in their exit interview stated dissatisfaction with school or district policies.

Local resident Sarah Luke agrees with both ideas.

“I do think more discipline probably would be a little bit better,” Luke said. “I don’t think teachers get paid enough at all for the amount of things they have to deal with, especially with the school shootings going on at this point; they don’t get enough.”

Last week, the BESE board approved the new funding formula to help pay teachers more for meeting certain needs such as teaching in critical shortage areas or high-need schools.

The newly approved formula must now be sent to the Louisiana legislature for consideration.

“Pay teachers what they’re worth,” local resident Danielle Frechette said.

The report also reported that more teachers are declining to be interviewed upon their departure.  

The Lafayette Parish School System is hosting a teacher job fair April 1 and is currently in the process of staffing for the upcoming school year. LPSS Public Information Officer Amanda Blanco says they will not know what their needs are until closer to the start of the 2023-24 school year.