Kutztown Board questions early retirement incentive savings

Patriot photo by Lisa Mitchell Kutztown School Board members James Shrawder, Craig Schroeder and Caecilia Holt express concerns regarding a proposed early retirement incentive.

Kutztown School Board members discussed an early retirement incentive but debated what savings they would actually see.

One board member fears loosing teachers with experience earlier than the district would without the incentive.

During a board meeting on March 4, board member Al Darion wanted to know estimates of savings if the early retirement incentive were approved.

BarbaraRichard, Assistant to the Superintendent for Human Resources and Public Relations, explained that administration surveyed employees to determine interest in early retirement. Savings estimates were based on the survey results.

“These numbers could look very different, these are the numbers of those who may be interested,” said Richard.

First year savings for professional staff would be $142,592. Year two and on would be $362,596. Richard also calculated in furloughed staff that might replace those retiring.

Darion motioned to offer the early retirement incentive to professional staff, pending Kutztown Area Teachers’ Association approval. Kurt Friehauf seconded.

Board member Caecilia Holt expressed concern about incenting teachers with a lot of experience to leave the district sooner than they would without the incentive.

James Shrawder’s concern was that those retiring would retire on their own without the incentive. He questioned the projected savings that are based on a “guess.”

Shrawder moved to table the incentive motion until they have a more refined projection on savings and when they know how many would retire without the incentive.

Craig Schroeder seconded to table it. The vote to table passed 5 to 4, Darion, Friehauf, Ziegler and Randy Burch voted no.

The board also tabled the discussion on the early retirement incentive for administrative and support staff.

The early retirement incentive is proposed for professional staff and administrative and support staff. The proposal is a one time incentive payment of $20,000 and receive single coverage health insurance of $3,000 payable each year for five years or age 65, whichever comes first.

To be eligible, the employee must have a combination of years with PSERS and age equals 70 or more and the irrevocable letter of retirement needs be submitted by April 10. The employee must also have at least 10 years experience with the district.

The next School Board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Kutztown High School in the library.

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