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School District To Offer Early Retirement

By Staff | Nov 27, 2009

The school district’s early retirement was discussed by members during the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education meeting held Nov. 16, at the high school.

“Currently, we give someone who’s over 55 and has worked here 12 years $5,000 toward insurance,” shared Superintendent John Joynt. “I recommend that we consider paying for a single health insurance plan ($6,242) each year until they are Medicare eligible and maybe a little cash.”

He said that some employees might see the cash an enticement to retire early.

“Sometimes they have insurance through their spouse, so the insurance plan really isn’t an enticement to retire early,” Joynt added.

He reminded the board that early retirement will be a special management tax and money can be saved in the General Fund.

“Whatever you decide you want to do, when you get a number of retirees, find out what that’s going to cost and then you tax property for that,” said Joynt. “It isn’t an enormous amount until you get more and more people on board.”

Joynt explained that the advantage is that the retiring employees usually have higher salaries and are replaced with employees with much lower salaries.

“We are on a time frame here because we need to let the staff know what we’re thinking,” said Board President Karla Anderson. “I think the number we come up with tonight needs to be one that will make them think.”

Board member Don Hagen wondered how many staff members were currently eligible for early retirement.

“I think it’s 13 who have been here at least 12 years and are age 55,” answered Joynt.

Anderson asked if any of the board members had suggestions for a cash amount to be offered.

“I think they’re lucky to get that insurance bridge,” Linda Tienter stated.

“Five thousand sounds good,” said Kim Campbell. “I’d hate to go less than that.”

Laure Egland asked if the district pays for an insurance plan for spouses of employees.

“No,” said Joynt. “We only pay for the employee.”

According to Board Secretary Pat Swanson, the cost of a family policy exceeds $700 per month.

“So, $5,000 wouldn’t even cover one year’s insurance for a spouse,” surmised Steve Pelzer.

“Around $7,500 would cover a spouse,” Egland offered.

On a roll call vote, the board approved an Early Retirement Policy for the 2009-2010 school year. The policy will offer a one-time cash payment of $7,500 and will cover the cost of single insurance coverage with a cap of $10,000 until retiree reaches the age for Medicare. There will be no Early Retirement Policy offered in 2010-2011.