By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton School District will offer an early retirement program in order to combat a more than $850,000 budget cut the district is anticipating for the next fiscal year due to a decline in students.
“It became apparent to me that we could look at posing an early retirement incentive for certain individuals that have given a lot of time and effort to the district and also a way to secure some of our staffing levels with some of our younger teachers at the same time because we are going to be looking at doing some reductions,” Superintendent Deb Olson said to School Board members at the meeting Monday. “Doing it this way is a lot less stressful.”
Certified enrollment counts showed the school district is down 90 students this year, which will result in the loss of $860,000 from the district’s fiscal year 2014 budget.
Previous early retirement programs allowed employees to receive $500 for each year of service to be applied to their health insurance. The latest proposal is for a cash payout instead.
“In recent years, school districts have been going to a cash payout, it’s a little cleaner and easier,” District Human Resource Director Jess Terrell said.
Employees will be offered $650 for each year of service up to 25 years, capping the amount at $16,250. Employees will pay taxes on these cash payouts, which will be made in July 2013 and 2014.
According to Terrell, 10 employees have indicated they would definitely accept the early retirement offer. Another 19 said they would probably take it, Terrell said.
A plan will be developed for the retirement incentive with employees before winter break. Employees will then be asked to commit to the program after winter break.
The board approved the early retirement program 6-1 with member Jim McGraw casting the dissenting vote.
“I don't always agree that getting rid of tenured people is in the best interest of the students,” McGraw said.