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Facing Another Tight Budget, Teachers Offered Early Retirement

The incentive would extend employee health insurance for five years after retirement.


The Newtown Board of Education wants to offer an early retirement incentive to teachers if enough of the eligible teachers agree to make it worthwhile.

Superintendent Dr. Janet Robinson said the school board is facing another tough budget cycle and hopes an early retirement package will produce savings to offset other rising costs.

Robinson said she will approach the teachers union with the incentive offer, which is to extend their health insurance for five years or until Medicare in return for early retirement.

She said teachers who are over age 60 and have been paying into the state teachers pension system for at least 20 years are the ones most likely to take the incentive.

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Connecticut public school teachers have their own state pension fund instead of receiving a town pension or Social Security. They receive 40 percent of the average of the top three years’ pay after 20 years, 50 percent after 25 years and 60 percent after 30 years.

An early retirement incentive for the 2010-11 budget year was accepted by 11 teachers, but that was too few to produce enough savings to make it worthwhile, school officials said.

Robinson said the school budget received only .5 percent more this year, which wasn’t enough to offset rising salaries.

Fortunately, the cost of employee health insurance went down, which is not typical, and school officials were able to find additional savings by economizing on utilities.

But this year, Robinson said, there is no place to cut, while salaries will continue to be the biggest cost increase factor.

Pupil enrollment is projected to decline by 80-100, but it will be spread out across multiple schools and grade levels making it difficult to cut staff without raising class sizes.

In a related development, the Board of Education agreed this week to meet jointly with the Legislative Council and the Board of Selectmen for a preliminary budget discussion. The meeting may take place later this month or early next month, although it has not yet been scheduled.

Alex Tytler October 04, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Always feeding a the trough, union member helping union member to our money. No matter how low enrollment goes it will be "difficult to reduce staff" because its just so complicated. Close one school, it will be clearly evident who gets the axe.
Sam Mihailoff October 04, 2012 at 03:44 PM
So, was the incentive rescinded in 2010-2011?
Sam Mihailoff October 04, 2012 at 03:50 PM
There have been countless suggestions and utter pleas from the public to increase commercial business. Until that occurs, yes it will be a tough budget year. The taxpayers are tapped out! LISTENING???
Michelle Ku October 04, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I'm not sure this article is right. I thought this was just a preliminary presentation to the BOE. Doesn't the Board have to vote on this before any action is taken?
Les October 04, 2012 at 06:42 PM
You're right, we are tapped out. The almost 1.3 million surplus from last year should be applied to get us to a zero % increase, or even better, an actual reduced budget for next year.
Paul Alexander October 04, 2012 at 08:11 PM
This is creative, proactive and acknowledges fiscal reality. If the numbers work I would love to see this happen.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com October 05, 2012 at 02:44 PM
The boe might want to give some thought that not the entire town wants to get ride of our experienced teachers just to save a few bucks. The almost 50/50 split in how people voted does not automatically mean we have to gut education again, how about using all the surplus the town side stashed away.
olderbutwiser October 05, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I think teachers can go up to 70% if they work 35 years. That means a teacher who makes 80K for last 3 years(doable) will get a 56K pension. If they start at 25 yrs old and are 60 their life expectancy is 28 years. That is like buying an annuity for $933,131 is you use a 5% rate(which is actually high). Does this mean that a retired teacher is a millionaire? It would seem.
ACE October 06, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Olderbutwiser- The answer is no. Teacher's will not make that much in retirement.
ACE October 06, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Yeah that's right. Close elementary schools to save money and destroy educational services for the younger students
Michelle Ku October 06, 2012 at 07:39 PM
This story is incorrect. For the correct information, see: http://www.voicesnews.com/articles/2012/10/06/top_stories/doc506f14d35a5fa153719336.txt
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com October 08, 2012 at 07:44 PM
You should also mention that teachers contribute to the pension program which is funded by the state. They also do not qualify for social security payments for the years they work in the school system,
John Smith October 31, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Yeah, they contribute a paltry 6%. The state (or you an me as taxpayers) kick in an extra 13%! LOL. I'll trade my social security for that any day!
jan maria February 01, 2013 at 07:31 PM
I am a teacher who has always held 2 jobs and paid into social security.. yet I will not be able to collect my social security!!!

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