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Rate of Louisiana teachers retiring spikes

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The number of teachers retiring jumped more than 25 percent as the administration of Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed an overhaul of public education that changes the rules on how teachers are evaluated, according to the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana.

"Superintendents are telling me they are seeing an increase ... even at midterm, people submitting resignations or indicating they are retiring at the end of the school year," said Michael Faulk, president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

The Advocate reports the number of retirements from public kindergarten through 12th-grade schools has hovered around 2,500 in recent years: 2,598 for the 2011 fiscal year; 2,512 during the previous fiscal year.

But for the 2012 fiscal year that ended June 30 - the most recent complete year - the number retiring from public systems jumped by 697 to 3,295, an increase of 26.8 percent in teacher retirements, according to TRSL statistics.

The pace is even higher for the current fiscal year, which began July 1 and is almost halfway through, with 1,671 retirements charted by TRSL. "This was not anticipated," said Lisa Honore,

TRSL communications director. School superintendents say the retirements are putting a strain on school systems. Livingston Parish School Superintendent John Watson said the parish has been able to find replacements so far.

"If it continues like this, it is going to be quite a problem to fill positions," said Watson. Lafayette Parish Superintendent Pat Cooper said the retirements are "absolutely" creating problems in having qualified, certified teachers in the classroom, "especially in the high-demand areas: math, science, special ed." "It certainly has had a negative effect," said Cooper.

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