(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Controversial law prompts a spate of retirements
MADISON, Wis. – When students return today for the first day of school across Wisconsin, many familiar faces will be gone, as teachers chose retirement over coming back following the passage of a bill that would have forced them to pay more for benefits and taken away most of their collective bargaining rights.
Documents obtained by the Associated Press under the state’s open records law show that about twice as many public school teachers decided to retire in the first half of this year as in each of the past two full years, part of a mass exit of public employees.
Their departures came after the bill passed but before the new law took effect. The bill, which was pushed by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature, led to weeks of protests at the Capitol.
The ensuing exodus of teachers and other state employees has spurred fears that the jobs might not be filled and that classroom leadership by veteran teachers will be lost.