Parents, former employees concerned about high turnover in Manitou schools

MANITOU SPRINGS — On Monday night, multiple parents and some former Manitou Springs School District 14 employees fired shots at the current board of education (BOE) over concerns about staff members and their well-being.

The anonymous letter from a current staff member said there was a “pattern of dishonest behavior by the district,” following many other comments parents read about employees who say they fear retaliation by the district.

The concern came after a member of Stand Up For Manitou said she and other parents have noticed a pattern of some of their favorite employees leaving D14 to work elsewhere.

“We’re just a parent group. We have our own kids in the district, and our goal is to help the staff feel supported,” said Brenda Holmes-Stanciu.

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

Data shared by Stand Up For Manitou showing turnover rates in different school districts.

Stop for Manitou

Data shared by Stand Up For Manitou showing turnover rates in different school districts.

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

Many at Stand Up For Manitou were “surprised” that the most commonly cited reasons for leaving the district were not COVID-19 or salary. According to the survey, the top two reasons employees said they left were “district leadership” and “district culture.”

“They feel that their suggestions, their ideas, their areas of expertise have been heard and then just moved,” Holmes-Stanciu said.

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

After the board meeting ended on Monday, the district superintendent issued a statement that said in part:

I invite former employees to meet to discuss any concerns or thoughts that would be helpful moving forward. My door is always open and I’m always happy to chat in hallways, driveways, games, social events, etc.

Superintendent Elizabeth A. Domangue, PhD, Manitou Springs School District 14

The chief also says the “new” HR team is working to introduce a platform, Let’s Talk, to share concerns and celebrations through an online platform where people can choose to be anonymous or not.

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