The Board of Education voted 5-0 Wednesday to approve a new version of retirement benefit plans for professional staff hired before July 1, 2012. The decision was brought before the board early because of the effect it would have on employees making retirement decisions, and because there is a financial incentive to submit a retirement before January 1. Teachers and staff were emailed a copy of the proposed language.
Under the new policy, retirement benefits are decided based on years of service to the District and date of retirement. An employee who retires prior to July 1, 2021 will receive $15,000 each year until eligible for Medicare ($150,000 if retired at age 55). Those retiring after that date will have their benefits calculated based on years employed at a steadily decreasing value:
The policy was revised after attorneys advised that the language opened the district up to potential ageism-related lawsuits. It will go into effect July 1, 2019.
“There was a lot of consternation on the part of the people involved in the committee looking at this, because we understand it’s going to impact current employees,” said Dale Yakaites, board member. “I hate to use the word ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ when you get to a policy like this, but certainly there will be some impact on various individuals, which was one of the reasons that this was staged not to be put into effect immediately.
“It was just something that had to be done overall for the benefit of the school district as well in terms of unfunded mandates and liabilities, and future issues financially for the school district.”
The district will continue working on the language for employees hired after July 1, 2012.