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Devil's in the Details for Teacher Early Retirement Incentives

A new proposal known as the Ohio Plan might save money for the Newtown Board of Education, but maybe not.

The Board of Education hopes to consult with a retired state official about an early retirement proposal for teachers that may or may not save the school district money.

Board members discussed the “Ohio Plan,” at the request of teacher union representatives, at a school board meeting Thursday, but they found it so complicated they were unable to make a decision.

Last month, the board authorized School Supt. Janet Robinson to offer an early retirement incentive for teachers who have enough years of service to receive state teacher pension benefits. If they retired early, the board offered to extend their health insurance benefits for five years.

The board is looking for any way to save money going into what might turn out to be a very difficult budget year. Not only have they run out of obvious ways to economize, but this is also the first year that voters will be able to vote for the school budget separately from the town budget, according to a newly passed charter revision, and nobody knows what the voters might do.

Robinson told the board Thursday that union representatives counter-offered the Ohio Plan, in which the school district would pay half the cost for teachers to buy extra years of pension benefits in order to retire early.

She said she sought help from Bill Sudol, a retired employee of the state Teachers Retirement Board, who provided an analysis of how the incentive might affect the school budget.

Sudol’s analysis was full of uncertainties, however. The Ohio Plan would save money if some teachers used it, but in other instances the cost of the incentive equals or exceeds the savings.

The plan requires the district to offer it to all teachers over age 50 and with at least 20 years of service. It does not give the school board the option to offer it only to those teachers who would save the board money.

“The board needs to make some decisions about this,” said Robinson, reminding them that their budget meetings begin in a few weeks.

Board member Cody McCubbin asked why they couldn’t just have layoffs, but he answered his own question — the reason is the layoffs would affect only the lower-paid teachers, thus limiting the savings.

The district has a policy to hire teachers with a minimum of five years of experience and master’s degrees. That way the school board knows it is hiring only good teachers.

Board member John Vourus suggested hiring first-year teachers instead, to replace teachers who took the Ohio Plan incentive, which would reap more in savings. But Robinson said that way the board couldn’t be sure it was getting the most talented educators.

That was when the discussion ended and Chairman Debbie Leidlein asked Robinson to ask Sudol to participate in a conference call with several board members hoping it might clear up some of the uncertainty and help them make a decision, she said.

Hawks Nike Track Camp November 09, 2012 at 01:38 PM
If no one hires first year teachers how do they get to be experienced. And if these experienced teachers are so good why are they looking for a job.
Sam Mihailoff November 09, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Oh, just give the seasoned teachers a three day written notice of termination and a boot out the door....seems to be the way to treat excellence right Janet, Dawn, and BoE puppets??? May this same behavior also happen to each of you some day....ALL OF YOU!!! Policies, contracts, state law; oh just ignore all of it. YOU ALL DISGUST ME
Paul Alexander November 09, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Actually Sam...ignoring state law sounds like a pretty good idea to me when a particular state law is nothing but an unfunded edict from the General Assembly Gone Wild idiots in Hartford. How are local school boards and municipal governments supposed to fund all the Hartford mandated madness? We ask these people to govern but Hartford ties both their arms behind their backs to the point where there is no more discretion in any budgets. I think a little municipal disobedience is just what these times call for. Disobey the unfunded mandates. Let the wankers in Hartford file suit. If ALL the municipalities and school boards ban together and fight back then Hartford will back down. Alas…having a spine-ectomy seems to be a prerequisite for entering local politics.
Veritas vos liberabit November 09, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Hey Rasmussen, how's the vote counting going in Flori-duh ? Are you helping out?
Sam Mihailoff November 09, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Paul, Does the ignoring of policy, written contract also sound good to you. You think official notification is adequate, fair and moral 3 three days prior to the beginning of the school year to just not bother showing up is ok? Gee, even the thief Sabrina got a year off with pay,
Paul Alexander November 09, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I just spoke to unfunded State mandates Sam.
Thomas Crafts November 09, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Lay'em off, much cheaper.
Russ November 10, 2012 at 02:50 AM
The 5 year rule seems totally backwards to me. Not only are you getting more expensive teachers, but you are also more likely getting other districts' rejects (thus, higher cost/less quality).
Sam Mihailoff November 10, 2012 at 03:34 AM
A recommendation and personel file of past performance can be "nicely" doctored up to get rid of the undesirables. You do not need look any further than the one Derby sent along with Janet Robinson or the ones Newtown "conveniently" avoided for Ms. Post and Mr. Harned. A first time teacher, worth his/her salt will be quick to see...loaded with enthusiasm and eager to teach. Being non-tenured also means easier to say "Adios" if it does not pan out

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