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Metro Nashville Public School Non-Teaching Staff

March, 2012
PREPARED FOR

Seigenthaler Public Relations


BY LINDA M. DAUGHERTY, MPA

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE COLLEGE OF SOCIAL WORK OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND PUBLIC SERVICE CENTER FOR APPLIED RESEARCH AND EVALUATION

PURPOSE AND METHODOLOGY


Seigenthaler Public Relations contracted with the College of Social Work Office of Research and Public Services Center for Applied Research (CARE) to interview Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) nonteaching employees. The purpose of the interview was to determine employee awareness of recent changes to the School Support Employee Handbook and to measure the impact of these changes. An advance letter was constructed to introduce the study and to reassure employees their responses would be held in confidence. A toll-free number was included in the letter to provide employees with the opportunity to complete an interview if their phone number was different than what appeared in the letter. This toll free number was also included in messages left on answering machines. A telephone interview was conducted with 400 employees between March 1, 2012 and March 15, 2012. The cooperation rate for this survey was 78.9% utilizing calculations provided by the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). A copy of the advance letter and the survey instrument may be found in the Appendix.

EMPLOYEE CHARACTERISTICS
Participants in the survey represent a wide range of job categories and years of experience within the Metro Nashville Public School system and are active members in their local communities. The average number of years of service for the participants was 13 years and approximately one in three participants, 31.3%, has worked within the MNPS system for more than 15 years. (Please refer to Table 14 in the Appendix for more details) Employees reported being involved in local community activities with all employees reporting they participate in at least one community activity. Church attendance was the most frequently reported form of involvement. Almost one in five participants, 16.8%, indicated that they or a family member are either an active member of the military or are a military veteran.

This research was also interested in discovering the prevalence of union membership among MNPS nonteaching employees and if there are differences in the perceptions and attitudes about recent changes in the school system between union members and those who do not belong to union. Approximately half of the respondents, 52.3%, reported they belong to a union though there is a detectable pattern in who chooses to join a union. Those employees who have worked 5 years or less for MNPS are significantly more likely to report being a member of a union than are those who have been employed by the system for more than 15 years. About half of the employees, 46.8%, have children living in their household and approximately half of these households have students currently attending a school within the MNPS system. These employees who have children in the school system are also significantly more likely to be a member of a union.

Union Membership
100%

83.5% 80% 67.0% 62.9% 60% 52.9% 48.1% 47.1% 37.1% 33.0% 47.1% 52.9%

51.9%

Member Non-Member

40%

20%

16.5%

0%

1 - 5 years

6 - 10 years

11 - 15 years More than 15 years Years of Service

In MNPS

No Student

Student in Household

Figure 1: Union membership

There also appears to be a correlation between job classification and union membership. Cafeteria workers are significantly more likely to report being a member of a union than are specialists and maintenance workers.
Cafeteria Yes No 72.0% 28.0% Campus Supervisor 46.7% 53.3% Clerk 44.4% 55.6% Clerical 34.0% 66.0% Educational Assistant 54.5% 45.5% Maintenance 21.7% 78.3% Specialist 14.3% 85.7% Technical support 37.5% 62.5% Other 56.7% 43.3%

Figure 2: Employment classification of union members

CHANGE IN MORALE
School employees who participated in the telephone survey were asked if they thought that employee morale had changed since Dr. Jesse Register became Director of Schools. Almost three out of four respondents, 71.0%, reported that there had been a change. Two follow-up questions were asked of those who thought there had been a change to determine the direction and the magnitude of this

change. A majority reported they felt there has been a major decline in employee morale under Dr. Registers leadership.

Change in Morale
Minor Positive 7.4% Major Positive 4.9% Not sure 6.7%

Minor Negative 20.1%

Major Negative 60.9%


Figure 3: Change in morale

Determining the cause for this decline in morale is beyond the scope of this project however participants were asked if they felt their jobs were valued by the director and whether they trusted him to do what is in their best interest. One in three respondents reported they felt there job is valued by the director and six out of ten reported they had some or a great deal of trust in him to do what is in their best interest. These feelings are consistent across all groups of employees with little variation. (Please refer to Tables 4, 5, 20 & 21 in the Appendix for further details)

IMPACT OF CHANGES IN EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK


Another area of interest for this project was to determine the level of awareness as well as the level of agreement with recent changes to the School Support Employee Handbook. A large majority of employees, 74.0%, indicated they were aware of these changes. Those who have more seniority in the school system were most likely to be aware of the changes with 81.5% of those who have more than 15 years of service being aware of the changes and 67.1% of those who have five years or less of service. (Please refer to Table 22 found in the Appendix for more details) Overall, 68.3% of those who were aware of these changes disagreed with the changes and 25.0% agreed with them. However, there is a significant difference in the level of agreement between those who belong to a union and those who do not. There is also a difference, but not statistically significant, between those who have children in the

school system and those who do not. Union members and those with students in the school system are more likely to disagree with these changes than are their counterparts.

Agreement with Changes to School Support Employee Handbook


100% 80% 60% 40% 20%
0.6%

44.9% 34.2% 27.7% 27.7% 16.5% 10.2% 3.8% 10.2% 24.1%

Member Non-Member

0% Strongly disagree Somewhat disagree Somewhat agree Strongly agree Not sure

Figure 4: Agreement with handbook changes

Regardless of agreement or disagreement with the changes in the handbook, there is general consensus that these changes have resulted in a major decline in employee morale. (Please refer to Table 24 in the Appendix for further details)

LEVEL OF TRUST IN UNION


A further reason for conducting this research was to gauge the level of trust union members have in their union to act in their best interest. Respondents who indicated that they were a member of a union were asked about their level of trust in the union to do what is in their best interest. Approximately 8 out of 10, 84.2%, indicated that they had either some or a great deal of trust in the union but the level of trust diminishes as the years of service increases. Those who have been employed more than 15 years by MNPS were more likely to indicate they had no trust at all in the union to act on their behalf than those who have worked fewer years in the school system.

Level of Trust in Union


100%

80% 58.9% 60% 54.5%

56.1% 50.0%

No trust Some trust

40%

33.3% 26.8%

29.3% 23.9% 12.2%

Great deal of trust


26.1%

Not sure

20% 7.6% 4.5% 0% 1-5

12.5% 1.8% 6 - 10

2.4% 11 - 15 Over 15

0.0%

Years of Service

Figure 5: Trust in union

CONCLUSION
A majority of Metro Nashville Public School non-teaching employees who participated in the telephone survey felt there has been a decline in employee morale since Dr. Jesse Register has become the Director of Schools. This decline cannot be directly attributed to Dr. Registers appointment but a majority of employees reported they do not feel their job is valued nor is there a high level of trust in him to act in a manner that is in their best interest. Only one-third of the employees reported they feel their job is valued by the director and only six out 10 have either some or a great deal of trust the director will do what is in their best interest. Furthermore, recent changes in the School Support Employee Handbook have not been positively received by a majority of the employees. This is particularly true for those employees who are members of a union. The level of trust in the union to act on behalf of the employees is higher than the level of trust in the director but there is a decline in the trust in the union as the number of years of service with the MNPS increases.

APPENDIX

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Question Q1 Do you think there has been a change in employee morale since Dr. Jesse Register became director of schools?

Yes No Not sure Refusal

71.0% 18.5% 10.0% .5%

Table 1: Change in morale

Question Q2 Has the change been a negative or a positive change in morale?

Negative Positive Not sure

81.0% 12.3% 6.7%

Table 2: Direction of change

Question Q2a Would you say it has been a major change or a minor change?

Major Minor Not sure Refusal

68.0% 27.1% 4.6% .4%

Table 3: Magnitude of change

Question Q3 Do you feel that your job is valued by the Director of Schools?

Yes No Not sure Refusal

33.8% 50.5% 14.8% 1.0%

Table 4: Job valued

Question Q4 How much trust do you have in the Metro Nashville Public School's Director of Schools to do what is in your best interest? Would you say you have no trust at all, some trust, or a great deal of trust?

No trust at all Some trust A great deal of trust Not sure Refusal

34.0% 51.8% 8.8% 5.3% .3%

Table 5: Trust in Director of Schools

Question Q5 The Director of Schools for Metro Nashville recently made changes to the School Support Employee Handbook. Are you aware of any of these changes?

Yes No Not sure

74.0% 22.5% 3.5%

Table 6: Awareness of changes

Question Q6 Some employees agree with these changes while others do not agree with them. How about you? Would you say that you strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, somewhat agree or strongly agree with the changes that were made to the School Support Employee Handbook?

Strongly disagree Somewhat disagree Somewhat agree Strongly agree Not sure

37.2% 31.1% 19.9% 5.1% 6.8%

Table 7: Agreement with changes

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Question Q7 How do you think these changes have affected employee morale? Do you think they have had a major negative impact, a minor negative impact, a minor positive impact, a major positive impact, or do you think the changes have had no impact on employee morale?

Major negative impact Minor negative impact No impact Minor positive impact Major positive impact Not sure Refusal
Table 8: Impact of changes

49.3% 32.1% 7.4% 6.4% 1.7% 2.7% .3%

Question Q8 Are you a member of a union?

Yes No Not sure

52.3% 47.5% .3%

Table 9: Union membership

Question Q9 How much trust do you have that your union does what is in your best interest? Would you say you have a great deal of trust, some trust, or no trust at all?

Great deal of trust Some trust No trust at all Not sure


Table 10: Trust in union

29.2% 55.0% 13.4% 2.4%

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Question Q10 In what community activities are you involved?

Church Volunteer for a non-profit agency Community organization Sports for self Sports for children Other
Table 11: Community activities

70.8% 21.8% 15.3% 9.0% 23.8% 14.8%

Question Q11 Do you have any children or grandchildren living in your household?

Yes No Refusal Question Q12 Do they attend a Metro Nashville Public School?

46.8% 52.8% .5%

Table 12: Children in household

Yes - all do Yes - some do No


Table 13: Student enrollment

48.7% 8.6% 42.8%

Question Q13 How long have you worked for Metro Nashville Public Schools?

Average 1 5 years 6 10 years 11 15 years More than 15 years


Table 14: Years of service

13 years 19.8% 27.3% 21.8% 31.1%

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Question Q14 How old were you on your last birthday?

Average

51 years old
Table 15: Age of respondent

Question Q15 Are you or a member of your household an active member of the U.S. military, a U.S. military veteran or in the U.S. military reserves?

Yes I am Yes Someone in household No Refusal


Table 16: Military status

2.8% 14.0% 82.8% .5%

Question Q16 What is your job title?

Cafeteria/food Campus Clerk Clerical/secretary Educational Maintenance/laborer, Specialist Technical/data Other Refusal
Table 17: Job classification

23.4% 3.8% 9.1% 12.6% 16.6% 5.8% 1.8% 2.0% 22.7% 2.3%

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Do you think there has been a change in employee morale since Dr. Jesse Register became director of schools? Union Membership Years with MNPS Children in MNPS Yes No 1-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Over 15 Yes No Yes 71.3% 70.5% 55.7% 77.1% 67.8% 77.4% 66.4% 72.7% No 18.7% 18.4% 25.3% 15.6% 25.3% 12.1% 19.6% 18.1% Not sure 9.6% 10.5% 19.0% 7.3% 6.9% 8.9% 13.1% 8.9% Refusal .5% .5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.6% .9% .3%
Table 18: Change in morale

Has the change been a negative or a positive change in morale? Would you say it has been a major change or a minor change? Union Membership Years with MNPS Children in MNPS Yes No 1-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Over 15 Yes No Major negative 61.7% 60.4% 61.4% 58.3% 55.9% 66.7% 60.6% 61.0% Minor Negative 20.8% 18.7% 18.2% 19.0% 18.6% 21.9% 22.5% 19.2% Minor positive 6.0% 9.0% 9.1% 8.3% 8.5% 5.2% 8.5% 5.6% Major positive 3.4% 6.7% 2.3% 6.0% 8.5% 3.1% 2.8% 7.0% Not sure 8.1% 5.2% 9.1% 8.3% 8.5% 3.1% 5.6% 7.0%
Table 19: Direction and magnitude of change

Do you feel that your job is valued by the Director of Schools? Union Membership Years with MNPS Yes No 1-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Yes 32.1% 35.8% 31.6% 33.0% 33.3% No 53.1% 47.4% 50.6% 45.9% 52.9% Not sure 13.4% 16.3% 17.7% 18.3% 12.6% Refusal 1.4% .5% 0.0% 2.8% 1.1%
Table 20: Job valued

Over 15 36.3% 52.4% 11.3% 0.0%

Children in MNPS Yes No 29.0% 35.5% 53.3% 49.5% 16.8% 14.0% .9% 1.0%

How much trust do you have in the Metro Nashville Public School's Director of Schools to do what is in your best interest? Union Years with MNPS Children in MNPS Membership Yes No 1-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Over 15 Yes No No trust 36.4% 31.6% 29.1% 31.2% 37.9% 37.1% 36.4% 33.1% Some trust 53.1% 50.0% 53.2% 56.9% 49.4% 48.4% 49.5% 52.6% Great deal of trust 5.7% 12.1% 11.4% 8.3% 8.0% 8.1% 7.5% 9.2% Not sure 4.3% 6.3% 6.3% 3.7% 4.6% 5.6% 6.5% 4.8% Refusal .5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% .8% 0.0% .3%
Table 21: Trust in Director of Schools

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The Director of Schools for Metro Nashville recently made changes to the School Support Employee Handbook. Are you aware of any of these changes? Union Membership Years with MNPS Children in MNPS Yes No 1-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Over 15 Yes No Yes 75.6% 72.1% 67.1% 68.8% 75.9% 81.5% 73.8% 74.1% No 21.1% 24.2% 26.6% 26.6% 20.7% 17.7% 22.4% 22.5% Not sure 3.3% 3.7% 6.3% 4.6% 3.4% .8% 3.7% 3.4%
Table 22: Awareness of changes

Some employees agree with these changes while others do not agree with them. How about you? Would you say that you strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, somewhat agree or strongly agree with the changes that were made to the School Support Employee Handbook? Union Membership Years with MNPS Children in MNPS Yes No 1-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Over 15 Yes No Strongly disagree 44.9% 27.7% 41.5% 34.7% 30.3% 40.6% 46.8% 33.6% Somewhat disagree 34.2% 27.7% 30.2% 33.3% 40.9% 23.8% 26.6% 32.7% Somewhat agree 16.5% 24.1% 20.8% 20.0% 16.7% 21.8% 19.0% 20.3% Strongly agree .6% 10.2% 3.8% 2.7% 7.6% 5.9% 2.5% 6.0% Not sure 3.8% 10.2% 3.8% 9.3% 4.5% 7.9% 5.1% 7.4%
Table 23: Agreement with changes

How do you think these changes have affected employee morale? Do you think they have had a major negative impact, a minor negative impact, a minor positive impact, a major positive impact, or do you think the changes have had no impact on employee morale? Union Membership Years with MNPS Children in MNPS Yes No 1-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Over 15 Yes No Major negative 54.4% 43.1% 45.3% 53.3% 53.0% 45.5% 53.2% 47.9% Minor negative 31.6% 32.8% 34.0% 28.0% 31.8% 34.7% 27.8% 33.6% No impact 6.3% 8.8% 7.5% 10.7% 6.1% 5.9% 5.1% 8.3% Minor positive 4.4% 8.8% 9.4% 4.0% 6.1% 6.9% 8.9% 5.5% Major positive 1.3% 2.2% 0.0% 2.7% 1.5% 2.0% 1.3% 1.8% Not sure 1.9% 3.6% 3.8% 1.3% 1.5% 4.0% 3.8% 2.3% Refusal 0.0% .7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.0% 0.0% .5%
Table 24: Impact of changes

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Are you a member of a union? Years with MNPS 6 - 10 11 - 15 51.9% 47.1% 48.1% 52.9% Children in MNPS Yes No 67.0% 47.1% 33.0% 52.9%

Yes No

1-5 83.5% 16.5%

Over 15 37.1% 62.9%

Table 25: Union membership

How much trust do you have that your union does what is in your best interest? have a great deal of trust, some trust, or no trust at all? Union Years with MNPS Membership Yes 1-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Over 15 No trust 13.4% 7.6% 12.5% 12.2% 23.9% Some trust 55.0% 54.5% 58.9% 56.1% 50.0% Great deal of trust 29.2% 33.3% 26.8% 29.3% 26.1% Not sure 2.4% 4.5% 1.8% 2.4% 0.0%
Table 26: Trust in union

Would you say you Children in MNPS Yes 8.5% 47.9% 38.0% 5.6% No 15.9% 58.7% 24.6% .7%

Are you or a member of your household an active member of the U.S. military, a U.S. military veteran or in the U.S. military reserves? Union Membership Years with MNPS Children in MNPS Yes No 1-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Over 15 Yes No I am 1.9% 3.7% 2.5% 3.7% 2.3% 2.4% 1.9% 3.1% Family member 12.4% 15.8% 13.9% 9.2% 16.1% 16.9% 8.4% 16.0% No 84.7% 80.5% 83.5% 86.2% 80.5% 80.6% 89.7% 80.2% Refusal 1.0% 0.0% 0.0% .9% 1.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.7%
Table 27: Military status

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What is your job title? Union Membership Yes No Cafeteria/food service Campus supervisor/monitor Clerk Clerical Educational assistant Maintenance/laborer Specialist Technical/data support Other Refusal
Table 28: Job classification

Years with MNPS 1-5 29.1% 0.0% 8.9% 5.1% 21.5% 2.5% 0.0% 2.5% 29.1% 1.3% 6 - 10 19.6% 7.5% 7.5% 10.3% 24.3% 7.5% 1.9% 2.8% 16.8% 1.9% 11 - 15 23.0% 4.6% 5.7% 16.1% 9.2% 5.7% 2.3% 2.3% 28.7% 2.3% Over 15 23.6% 2.4% 13.0% 17.1% 12.2% 6.5% 2.4% .8% 18.7% 3.3%

Children in MNPS Yes 25.5% 6.6% 10.4% 8.5% 16.0% 1.9% 0.0% .9% 29.2% .9% No 22.7% 2.7% 8.6% 14.1% 16.8% 7.2% 2.4% 2.4% 20.3% 2.7%

32.4% 3.4% 7.7% 8.2% 17.4% 2.4% .5% 1.4% 24.6% 1.9%

13.7% 4.2% 10.5% 17.4% 15.8% 9.5% 3.2% 2.6% 20.5% 2.6%

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Question Q1 Do you think there has been a change in employee morale since Dr. Jesse Register became director of schools? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Don't know 4. Refusal Logic Instructions (flow only): IF (ANS = 1) SKIP TO Q2 ELSE SKIP TO Q3 Question Q2 Has the change been a negative or a positive change in morale? 1. 2. 3. 4. Negative change Positive change Don't know Refusal

Question Q2a Would you say it has been a major change or a minor change? 1. 2. 3. 4. Major Minor Don't know Refusal

Question Q3 Do you feel that your job is valued by the Director of Schools? 1. 2. 3. 4. Yes No Not sure Refusal

Question Q4 How much trust do you have in the Metro Nashville Public School's Director of Schools to do what is in your best interest? Would you say you have no trust at all, some trust, or a great deal of trust? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. No trust at all Some trust A great deal of trust Don't know Refusal

Question Q5 A-16

The Director of Schools for Metro Nashville recently made changes to the School Support Employee Handbook. Are you aware of any of these changes? 1. 2. 3. 4. Yes No Don't know Refusal

Logic Instructions (flow only): IF (ANS > 1)SKIP TO Q8 Question Q6 Some employees agree with these changes while others do not agree with them. How about you? Would you say that you strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, somewhat agree or strongly agree with the changes that were made to the School Support Employee Handbook? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Strongly disagree Somewhat disagree Somewhat agree Strongly agree Don't know Refusal

Question Q7 How do you think these changes have affected employee morale? Do you think they have had a major negative impact, a minor negative impact, a minor positive impact, a major positive impact, or do you think the changes have had no impact on employee morale? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Major negative impact Minor negative impact No impact Minor positive impact Major positive impact Not sure Refusal

Question Q8 Are you a member of a union? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Not sure 4. Refusal Logic Instructions (flow only):IF (ANS > 1)SKP Q10

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Question Q9 How much trust do you have that your union does what is in your best interest? Would you say you have a great deal of trust, some trust, or no trust at all? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Great deal of trust Some trust No trust at all Not sure Refusal

Question Q10 In what community activities are you involved? [CHECK ALL THAT APPLY] Q10_1. Q10_2. Q10_3. Q10_4. Q10_5. Q10_6. Q10_7. Church Volunteer for a non-profit agency Community organization Sports for self Sports for children Other No involvement

Question Q11 Do you have any children or grandchildren living in your household? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Refusal Logic Instructions (flow only): IF (ANS > 1)SKIP TO Q13 Question Q12 Do they attend a Metro Nashville Public School? 1. 2. 3. 4. Yes - all do Yes - some do No Refusal

Question Q13 How long have you worked for Metro Nashville Public Schools? ______ (# of years) [IF LESS THAN ONE YEAR = 1] [USE 99 FOR NOT SURE/REFUSAL]

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Question Q14 How old were you on your last birthday? __________ (Record age) [USE 99 FOR NOT SURE/REFUSAL]

Question Q15 Are you or a member of your household an active member of the U.S. military, a U.S. military veteran or in the U.S. military reserves? 1. 2. 3. 4. Yes - I am Yes - Someone in my household is No Refusal

Question Q16 What is your job title? 1. Cafeteria/food service 2. Campus supervisor/monitor 3. Clerk 4. Clerical/secretary 5. Educational assistant 6. Maintenance/laborer, general assistant 7. Specialist 8. Technical/data support 9. Other 10. Refusal

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College of Social Work Office of Research and Public Service Center for Applied Research and Evaluation
600 Henley Street, Suite 209 Knoxville, TN 37996-4123 Phone: (865) 974-2819 Fax: (865) 974-7541

The Center for Applied Research and Evaluation at the University of Tennessee is asking for your help with a telephone survey about how public school system support staff employees may have been impacted by recent changes. I am sending this letter to let you know that Metro Nashville Public School employees will receive a telephone call from one of our staff members in the next few days. The staff member will be asking questions about your opinion on how you feel about your job and whether any changes have affected you. The telephone interview will take less than five minutes and all of your answers will be completely confidential. Your answers will be combined with those of other employees and will be reported in summary form only. Your name will never be associated with any of your answers. The telephone number that we have that is best to reach you is:###-#### . If this is not the correct number or if you have any questions about this survey, please call me at our toll free number: 1-888-883-5514. It is only with the help of you and your fellow employees that we can learn your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Sincerely,

Linda M. Daugherty Assistant Director

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