St. Mary Parish teacher retirement numbers depend on source

Parish public school numbers indicate 24 teachers have retired to date, but the state retirement system says 43 St. Mary teachers had indicated their intention to retire as of Tuesday.

“It could mean that they have contacted the retirement system without our knowledge, but we have not received any official notification from those employees,” St. Mary Personnel Director Ricky Armelin said via email.

Regionally, St. Mary Parish is the only school system that has seen an increase in retirement numbers between 2012 and 2013, according to the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana information.

Assumption and Lafayette parishes remained steady with 15 and 151, respectively.

Lafourche Parish dropped from 73 to 59, while St. Martin Parish dropped from 45 to 30 and Terrebonne dropped from 116 to 84.

In the 2012 school year, there were 46 employees who retired. Of those, 24 were teachers, Armelin said.

But the state retirement system indicates that there were 37 kindergarten through 12th grade personnel who retired by the close of the 2012 school year in St. Mary Parish, according to Lisa Honore, retirement system public information director.

For this school year, 47 employees retired, including 24 teachers, Armelin said.

St. Mary’s internal numbers for this school year are not complete, Armelin added.

The state retirement program counted 43 kindergarten through 12th grade St. Mary personnel who, by Tuesday, had retired or submitted applications to retire before June 30, Honore said.

St. Mary Superintendent Donald Aguillard said in an email, “What we do know is that the 2012-13 school year has seen tsunami-like shifts in efforts to use student achievement results as a large component of teacher evaluations. The anticipated shift in instruction to the more robust Common Core Curriculum along with the more challenging PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments has also increased teacher stress.”

The school system began the school year asking principals to use reasonable expectations as the new evaluation tools for teachers are learned, he said.

“We also made a concerted effort to provide support to principals and teachers as information regarding the evaluation instrument and new curriculum were forthcoming,” Aguillard said. “My hope is that we never find ourselves unable to fill teacher vacancies. Thus, we are constantly engaged in helping reduce stress-related issues for our teachers.”

Statewide, kindergarten through 12th grade personnel retirements peaked in 2012 at 3,295. There were 2,598 retirements in 2011 and there have been 3,092 so far this year, Honore said.

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