February 08. 2013 7:00AM - Last modified: February 08. 2013 7:26AM

EAU CLAIRE - Teachers retire in droves, leaving jobs for new grads

The state's largest school district has joined other public schools in Wisconsin that have experienced a shortage of teachers, as large numbers of educators have retired or will soon.

Milwaukee Public Schools is hosting four recruitment drives in February and March searching for 700 teachers and other school staff positions, according to The Associated Press.

According to the district, officials need to hire because of a wave of retirements sparked partly by the aging of the baby boom generation.

Gail Scukanec, dean of UW-Eau Claire's College of Education and Human Sciences, said the large numbers of retirees in education and other public sector professions are linked to the end of union teaching contracts, after the state government's 2011 collective bargaining law took effect.
Teachers are considering retirement benefits they get by retiring under their current contract as opposed to what may come under employee handbooks written by school boards.

"It's the fear of what's to come and then the reality," she said.

While it is an uncertain time for educators in Wisconsin, especially those close to retirement, Scukanec said, it caused the hiring outlook for new teaching graduates to improve.

"I've been told there are jobs out there, not to worry," said senior Dani Bresnahan, a UW-Eau Claire elementary education major. "There is a demand."

Friends who recently graduated have not had difficulty finding schools looking for teachers, she said, and are not struggling to find jobs.

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