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School Board Adds Minor Change To Early Retirement Policy

By Staff | Dec 22, 2009

Members of the Emmetsburg Community School District’s Board approved a change in the language to the proposed early retirement policy for licensed staff members during a second reading of the policy in a noon meeting Thursday, Dec. 18. The board also approved a resignation during the session, held in the Superintendent’s office.

The original proposed policy language was changed to allow retirees to purchase an additional single coverage plan for their spouse, at the retiree’s expense. Under the proposal, single coverage for the employee would be provided as a bridge until the retiree qualifies for Medicare insurance coverage.

“I’ve spoken with the representatives of the teachers association, and they are agreeable to this wording,” Superintendent John Joynt told the board members. “As of right now, we have received four applications from staff to take advantage of the early retirement program. The staff has until Jan. 7 to apply.”

Joynt continued, “This concept of offering early retirement has been around for 10 years or so, and people understand that there are significant cost savings to a district by offering these plans.”

Through early retirement, the cost of insurance coverage for the employee who retires is paid from the district’s management budget, rather than the general fund. The program is open to any licensed staff member who is 55 years of age and has worked for the district for at least 12 years.

“We’ve stated pretty clearly that we don’t intent to offer this program next year,” Board President Karla Anderson reminded the board. “IPERS is not a factor for us in this process.”

With no further discussion, Board member Laure Egland moved to introduce and approve the second reading of the board policy with the change in language. A second by board member Don Hagen followed and the motion was approved on a 6-0 vote, with board member Steve Pelzer absent and not voting.

In other business, the board accepted a resignation from Claude Thayer from his position of Seventh Grade Football Coach.

“Claude has done a good job for us over the years,” Joynt noted. “As an hourly employee, he would clock out, go to practice or his game, and when it was over, he’d come back, clock in and finish whatever he needed to finish for his work for the day.”

“I would move to accept his resignation as seventh grade football coach with regret, and thank him for his years of loyal service,” stated Hagen.

“I’ll second that motion,” board member Tammy Naig said. “It’s sad to see him go,” as the board accepted the resignation.

High School Principal Jay Jurrens submitted letters of request for early graduation from Jesse Teeter, Kyle Hurley and Jacob Firkins, which were accepted and approved by the board.

“The numbers of early graduates have really cut down,” Anderson observed, which drew agreement from Jurrens. “That started when we increased the number of credits required for graduation,”

Joynt shared a list of nine proposals being submitted by the district for consideration by the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation grant board. Projects submitted included a Reading Enhancement program in the amount of $30,000, as well as a proposal for a Middle School playground project in the amount of $25,000. Also submitted is a proposal for Iowa Core Curriculum Technology, in the amount of $80,000, which would supply new computers for all staff members.

A request for a document camera at a cost of $1,200 was submitted, along with a program to purchase activity tickets for all students in the Emmetsburg Public and Catholic school districts, at a cost of $25.000. A request for $4,500 for weight room equipment was approved for submission, along with a lift for the cyclorama in the Auditorium, at an estimated cost of $4,400. A related proposal for $5,500 for wireless microphones for the auditorium was also authorized, along with a request for track and golf warm-ups in the amount of $5,100.

In a final informational item, Joynt reported to the board that he had received n email from Superintendent Erv Rowlands of Ruthven-Aryshire, to discuss the possibilities of sharing a superintendent between the Emmetsburg and Ruthven-Ayrshire, as Rowlands will be retiring at the close of the current school year. Joynt indicated he had set up an informal meeting with Rowlands for Dec. 21. “I will keep you appraised of what may or may not develop out of this,” Joynt noted as the meeting concluded.