Superior School District will not renew 25 teacher postions

The Superior School District will not be renewing 25 teacher positions going into the next 2024-2025 school year.

School District of Superior District Administrator Dr. Amy Starzecki said the non-renewals were approved by the school board on Monday, March 18.

The non-renewals will impact 15 teachers at the elementary level and 10 at the secondary level.

Budgetary concerns were cited as the reason for the non-renewals.

Dr. Stazecki provided WDIO with the following data points:

•              We have three significant factors impacting our budget: 1) state funding not keeping up with inflationary costs (increased salaries, health insurance, utilities, etc.), 2) Loss of federal ESSER funds that were provided to district to address pandemic impacts and those expire 9/24 and 3) declining student enrollment and student enrollment has a direct impact on the amount of revenue we get each year to develop an annual budget

•              We have seen a significant decline in the student population in our district. More specifically, there will be approximately 500 less students at the elementary level next year. We will be going from 104 elementary sections in 2019-20 to 74 next year.

•              Class sizes have not changed. We used the same ratio to determine the number of sections.

•              Many of our families and staff have already felt the impact of this challenge as a result of the decision to close one of our six elementary schools for the 2024-25 school year.

•              These challenges are not unique to Superior.  Many WI districts are facing similar student declining enrollment.  Schools that received federal ESSER funds are needing to make similar reductions considering those funds are no longer available. 

•              Even with declining enrollment many operational expenses stay constant regardless of student enrollment (transportation, utilities, etc.)  This creates significant challenges for WI schools when state funding does not keep up with inflationary costs.  As a result, most districts across WI have gone to taxpayers for an operational referendum.  Superior has not. We are balancing our budget currently through reducing expenses.

•              Salary and benefits are 80% of our expenses. If we are going to create a balanced budget, cuts are required in salary and benefits.

Dr. Starzecki said the district “will continue to provide the best possible education experience for the children of Superior. We have great staff dedicated to this school community.”