Clerical Turnover in the K-12 Campus Office




Robert, Catherine E.

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Clerical staff in the campus office (i.e., secretaries, attendance clerks, registrars) perform critical functions essential to the operation of schools, yet do not receive research attention regarding their contributions. The purpose of this study is to determine and describe turnover rates of K-12 campus clerical employees in order to establish base information in the field. Eight years of employment data within a large suburban school district in Texas are examined to determine both the number of clerks moving to different positions and the number of clerks leaving campus clerical employment; these figures combined represent annual turnover. Turnover rates are then examined based on similar contexts in which teacher turnover is reported: by campus poverty status, by campus level, and by position type. Reasons for turnover are reviewed in addition to the cost of clerical turnover per year.

Campus clerical employees turnover at an average rate of 22% per year. Findings indicate there is no difference between clerical turnover within high and low poverty campuses, and only minimal differences between campus levels. The type of position, however, is a significant factor in clerical turnover. The highest levels of clerks, assistants to the principals, registrars, and bookkeepers have lower turnover than other positions. Clerical employees most often move and leave from their positions in order to secure a higher paying position. Costs of turnover, both tangible and intangible, suggest there is value in providing employee training and development opportunities for career growth of clerical staff.


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Attendance clerk, Campus office, Clerical staff, Employee retention, Secretary, Turnover



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies