School Board Adopts Early Retirement Policy
Members of the Emmetsburg Community School Board of Education voted to establish an Early Retirement Option for faculty and staff members of the district during the November meeting of the board on Monday, Nov. 16. The board also participated in a work session prior to the meeting on the topic of board member roles and responsibilities with Margaret Buckton of the Iowa School Board Association.
Board Consultant Gary Richardson had presented a tentative early retirement policy to the board during the October meeting for review and consideration, noting that such policies were common for school districts to offer as a way to manage expenses over time.
Through the use of early retirement, new instructors enter a district at lower places on a salary schedule, and the costs for benefits for retirees can be shifted from the general fund to the management fund, freeing up funds in the general fund.
The Emmetsburg district last offered an early retirement program during the 2012-13 school year, when 10 faculty members took advantage of the program.
Under the terms of the proposed policy, the school district would provide a lump-sum payment, half on June 20 and half on Jan. 20, to any licensed employee who applies for voluntary early retirement, and meets eligibility and application requirements for the policy.
To be eligible, a licensed employee must hold a valid employment contract with the Emmetsburg Community School District and must be a full-time employee who works 40 hours per week and is performing those assigned duties in the Emmetsburg Community School District.
The licensed employee must have reached 55 years of age or will attain that age before July 1 of the year that the lump-sum payment would be made. Also, the licensed employee must have completed or will complete at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, at least 12 years of consecutive service to the Emmetsburg Community School District.
Additionally, the licensed employee must not be subject to discharge for cause or ever have been discharged from employment by the Emmetsburg Community School District.
“Any licensed employee wishing to apply for the program must submit their application to the Superintendent with their letter of resignation on or before January 3, 2017,” Richardson noted, “And no late applications will be considered.”
Under the provisions of the policy, the school board can limit the number of applications receiving approval, based on the date and time the applications are received. Once a licensed employee’s application has been accepted for early retirement, they must retire by June 30, 2017.
Those licensed employees taking advantage of early retirement will be eligible to receive a sum equal to $20,000, along with a sum of $1,000 per year of full time employment after 12 years of service to the Emmetsburg Community School District.
A final provision of the policy is that a licensed employee who participates in the early retirement program shall not be eligible to be rehired in any capacity with the Emmetsburg Community School District, and the district is not required to accept applications for employment from those individuals. However, the district may hire a retiree who serves as a substitute teacher.
“By setting this up for the 2016-2017 school year, it gives the employees and the administration some time to think about it and plan for the future,” Richardson added.
With little discussion, Board member Pete Hamilton moved to adopt the Early Retirement policy and with a second from Board member Kim Campbell, the policy was adopted with Board President Tammy Naig absent and not voting.