School floats early retirement
By AUDREY INGRAM
Greene County School District teachers and staff who have spent a decade employed full-time in the district and will be older than 55 by July 1, 2015, are eligible to receive 45 percent of their current salary next year if they retire early.
Early retirement is a tool school boards can use to reduce expenses, superintendent Tim Christensen said.
The board opted to offer the early retirement option, which was not available last year, in light of the district’s loss of 20 students — representing roughly $127,000 in spending authority for the district’s 2015-16 budget — in October’s certified enrollment count.
If a more experienced teacher retires, a new teacher with less experience can be hired at a lower salary to fill the position, or the position can be left vacant, cutting general fund costs, Christensen explained.
The district’s salary schedule runs up to $58,000. The starting salary for a teacher in Iowa is about $33,000.
While salaries are paid from the general fund, early retirement is paid from the management fund. Early retirement has the potential to save the district $200,000 in its general fund next year, Christensen said.
Seventeen teachers and 17 classified staff members, which includes custodians, secretaries and cooks, are eligible for the early retirement package.
The early retirement policy passed by the school board at its December meeting sets a tentative limit on early retirement packages at a total cost of $200,000 to the district.
For example, if the cost to the district is $25,000 in early retirement for a teacher, then eight teachers’ applications could be approved to reach the $200,000 total, Christensen explained.
Applications are due by Feb. 13. They will be approved in the order they are received.
Four applications have been submitted so far, Christensen said.