Most school districts say they're seeing an increased number of retirements and early retirement, and now they're wondering how they'll fill those gaps.
Classrooms just like this one in Colfax could be seeing some of their longest-tenured and most experienced teachers leave within the next year.
"We've had five people confirmed leaving,” says Superintendent Dennis Geissler, clarifying that some of those leaving aren’t necessarily retiring. “Potentially, we could see another five.”
Geissler says most of the teachers handed in their retirement papers after the budget repair bill and other cuts were proposed in Madison.
“People are wanting to lock in their benefits of retirement before anything changes,” says Geissler.
And the human resources director at UW-Eau Claire says the school districts aren't alone.
“Typically we see around 40. This year we've seen closer to 80 to 85 that have turned in retirement papers,” says Donna Weber.
From primary schools, to universities, all say such an exodus of experience is rare.
“I’ve been here 17 years and I don't recall 10 people leaving,” says Geissler.
“In my thirty-two years with the university, I’ve never seen anything quite like this. There's so much uncertainty right now,” says Weber.
Weber says she’s seen people turn down job opportunities with the university because, she says, they’re “afraid to move their families to Wisconsin right now.”
Despite the retirements, the schools and universities say they'll stay focused on trying to give the best education possible despite losing so many experienced staff members.
The Eau Claire School District says it's seeing about the same number of teachers retire. Altoona Schools say they'll see eight employees retire, and Menomonie says they’ll see 27 employees retire, too.