Elmbrook Official Says 'Angst' is Causing Jump in Teacher Retirements
About two dozen teachers are seeking to retire from the Elmbrook School District, compared to 15 last year.
About two dozen Elmbrook School District teachers have asked to retire, compared to 15 last school year, an administrator says.
In recent years the number of teachers filing for retirement has been in the teens, Christine Hedstrom, assistant superintendent for human resources, said in an interview.
Prior to that, Elmbrook had some years in which 30 to 40 teachers retired in a year, she added.
But the approximately two dozen requests this winter has Hedstrom concerned that some teachers are asking to retire not because they really want to do so but because they are fearful of their future.
"Right now there is a lot of angst," Hedstrom said. "People are afraid of the unknown, afraid that the district will wipe out everything or just cause major devastation. There's is fear the district will fire the most expensive teachers. There really isn't any basis for that type of fear.
"The Board of Education's goal has always been to align expenses with revenues," she said.
Hedstrom said she is trying to calm staff anxiety. And she said she hopes teachers "don't make an emotional decision that they can't go back on. Once the board approves a (retirement) benefit for you, it can't be rescinded."
The School Board approved a dozen retirements at recent meetings and has nine more on its agenda tonight. Hedstrom said there were others pending for a future meeting.