The Albany County School District No. 1 Board of Education is preparing to lose teachers, whether because of attrition or cuts to education funding from the Wyoming Legislature.
In anticipation of the potential loss, the board approved an early resignation stipend for teachers who inform the district they would not be returning in the next school year.
ACSD No. 1 Superintendent Jubal Yennie said the school district used the early resignation stipend for several years to gauge how many teachers are planning to leave the district before the school year starts. Teachers who submit their resignations by March 2 would receive $750, which was recently increased by $100 to adjust for the cost of living, he said.
“We usually get about 6-10 folks that actually go ahead and take advantage of (the stipend),” Yennie said. “When we get those resignations, it gives us an opportunity to go ahead and start posting, and then, start hiring folks a little earlier than waiting around for July or August.”
Because education funding could decrease at the state level, early resignation incentives might be a way to reduce the number of teachers in the district, which would save money, he said.
“They have been cutting education (funding) for the last three or four years, and we are like everyone else in Wyoming — we are pretty near the bone,” Yennie said. “If we are getting significant cuts, then we probably will be looking into staff reductions.”
Even though the early registration could be used to decrease the size of the work force, school district officials would rather use other means to decrease the number of teachers, he said.
“The best way for us to reduce our staff is through attrition,” Yennie said. “If there are folks that are anticipating retirement, we could provide an additional incentive that allows them to make that move. That keeps us from doing a reduction in force, which would be laying off teachers.”
He said another option the board is looking into is an early retirement incentive. Yennie said offering an incentive for teachers could make retiring more appealing and would reduce costs to the school district.
“We considered an early retirement incentive, and the legislature is talking about that one right now,” he said.
“Those folks that are eligible for retirement usually have to bridge the gap between when they retire to when they can start taking Medicare, and so they don’t have the insurance. Typically, an early retirement incentive would involve insurance, but we are not ready to talk about that yet.”