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School Board Approves Early Retirement Policy, Tax Asking To Increase

By Staff | Nov 25, 2008

The district’s early retirement policy was discussed and acted on during the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education meeting Nov. 17, at the high school library.

“I recommend that we offer the same early retirement program as last year,” said Superintendent John Joynt.

The early retirement policy is in effect for a one-year period.

According to Joynt, the district’s 2007-2008 early retirement policy provided $5,000 each year to potential retirees age 55 and older, who have been in the district for at least 12 years. The funds go towards a retiree’s health insurance until they become eligible for Medicare.

“Keep in mine that early retirement will be a special management tax,” said Joynt. “It’s set up by the State as an enticement to save money in the General Fund. Typically, you have a teacher with a higher salary retiring, and you hire a new teacher with a lower salary to replace them. It’s a considerable salary savings.”

Joynt reminded the board that the district’s enrollment had increased by 42 students this school year resulting in a higher property tax asking.

“We had been going down quite a bit in previous years, but now it will go up a little–maybe 50-cents or more,” Joynt stated. “We get our income by the number of students–we get more students, we get more money–that comes from taxes.”

The superintendent explained that half of the district’s income comes from property tax, while the other half comes from state aid, which is funded by income tax and sales tax.

Board member Linda Tienter asked, “How many are eligible for early retirement?”

“There’s 13 this year,” Joynt answered.

“Did we have any take it last year?” asked Dave VanOosbree, board member.

“We had two,” said Joynt.

With no further discussion, VanOosbree moved to approve the district’s Early Retirement Policy for the 2008-2009 school year. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

“So far, it’s been a pretty good policy for us,” VanOosbree stated. “We don’t want to lose too much experience with our retiring teachers, and with this policy, we can control that.”

“Having a mix of experienced and new teachers is important,” said Joynt. “Our policy even states that the district benefits from having a balance of experienced employees and beginning employees.”

Joynt noted that the school district currently employs three first-year teachers and two second-year teachers.

“That’s less than ten percent of our teaching staff, so we don’t have a lot of inexperienced teachers in the district,” concluded Joynt. “I think we have a good balance of experienced and new teaching staff.”