Three more familiar faces in the Shorewood School District will say goodbye at the end of the school year, after officials approved their retirements Tuesday.
With 65 years of service between them, Working Foreman Al Thein, Rick Wilke of the district’s operations department and Shorewood Intermediate School secretary Sue Kaminsky will join six teachers, three long-time secretaries, two long-time maintenance employees and Superintendent Blane McCann in leaving this spring and summer.
During its last budget cycle, the district saved about $305,000 from a turnover of staff. As veteran teachers — who are at the top of the district pay scale — retire, it paves the way for younger teachers to enter the district at lesser salaries. A secretary and custodian’s retirement also contributed to the savings last year.
Business Manager Mark Boehlke said he needs to update his numbers with some of the newer retirements, but his current calculations have the district saving a little more than $200,000 in the new budget cycle.
The School Board historically averages five teacher retirements each year, according to Boehlke, but that number doubled last year in the wake of a controversial change in state law, which eliminated most bargaining rights for public workers, including teachers.
Boehlke said other employee groups are very sporadic with their retirements.
"You could go five years without anyone retiring and then one year have several," he said.
In a previous Patch article, some teachers said their decision to retire was driven by the new measure, while others said it was just a good time to retire.
Statewide, retirement requests from public employees were up 33 percent in 2011 compared the previous year, according to the Wisconsin Retirement System. In the beginning of last year, requests were up 134 percent but leveled out to the 33 percent over the course of the 12 months. However, in the last quarter of 2011, WRS reported 815 fewer requests compared to the same period in the previous year. Numbers aren't available yet for the first quarter of 2012.
The district typically approves all retirements by December, but decided to field more requests last year after the repair bill was introduced to the Wisconsin Legislature last February.