Friday, December 14, 2018

December Board Notes

This month the Board meeting was focused on two main points of discussion, a retirement incentive plan and the facility work that is occurring.  It was a simple agenda, but there was a healthy discussion about the topics.

The District recently surveyed staff members about their retirement plans. There were 26 staff members who responded that they are considering retiring in the next two to five years.  There were nine staff members that indicated they are considering retirement at the end of this school year.  The plan discussed with the Board provides a financial incentive for staff members who are age 55 and above, have at least ten continuous years of full-time service in the District, and who are in good standing with the District to retire at the end of the school year.  The plan allows for eligible teachers to receive a total of $16,000 over two years using a special pay plan and eligible support staff to receive a total of $10,000 using the same payment method.   

We have great staff members, so it is difficult to immediately recognize the benefits of offering a financial incentive for them to retire. Some naturally inquire why we do not offer the same type of incentive for our staff to continue teaching rather than when they are considering retirement.  This is a good question, and I can relate to this.  I would love to be able to pay staff more to continue teaching. However, it is a matter of budget limitations with the general fund.  

School districts pay staff salaries out of the general fund which is also used to pay for academic programs, instructional resources, professional development, fuel, and utilities.  Retirement incentives are paid out of the management fund which has a different purpose. The management fund is designed to pay for unemployment, liability insurance and judgments, and retirement incentives. Staff salaries cannot be paid from the management fund.  

Ultimately, the District saves money in the general fund by offering a financial incentive for staff to retire. When a long-term staff member retires, it is important that the District carefully evaluate the staff position that becomes vacant. Many times an open position can be filled by a new staff member that is not quite as expensive as a long-term employee.  It is also possible to consider restructuring to meet a different need in the District or eliminating the position.

The Board also discussed an overview of the facility planning process, the three locations we have visited, and important timelines.  The Board set a date for a work session to talk about this more in depth on Monday, December 17th.

All of the consent agenda items including financial reports and personnel items were approved. There were a few action items that were addressed including an equipment donation from H&H and a contract with Brightspark Travel for the student trip to Washington D.C. and New York City in 2020.

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