To save money, district to rehire some retirees

Employees will be guaranteed two one-year contracts in the same position.
AUSTINTOWN -- Ten teachers and four administrators plan to take advantage of a district policy that allows veteran employees to retire and be rehired in the same job.
"It will mean significant savings this year, and the savings multiplies for the second year of the program," said Brad Gessner, school board president.
He estimated projected savings at $200,000 this year and about $400,000 next year.
The employees will be guaranteed two one-year contracts in the same position they occupied when they retired under the policy enacted in May as a way to trim costs.
Contract details
A retiring teacher will receive a cash incentive of $8,000 per year for up to five years, in addition to his salary. For example, if a teacher retires with 30 years or less of service, he or she will receive $8,000 per year for five years. If an employee retires with 31 years of service, he or she will receive $8,000 per year for four years, under the policy.
A teacher with 30 years of service and a master's degree earns an annual salary of $62,785 and, when combined with benefits, it adds up to about $88,020 annually, according to information compiled by the school district.
If that teacher retires and is rehired for two years, the cost is lower. A returning teacher would earn an annual salary of $41,546 with no hospitalization or other insurance costs paid by the district.
A retiring teacher receives a one-time, $18,000 severance pay. The pay for a rehired retired teacher the first year, including salary, severance and incentives, would be about $74,379.
In the second year, with no severance, that cost reduces to $56,379, including salary and incentives.
If a veteran teacher retires and is replaced with a beginning teacher, the cost would be $77,762 to the district the first year and $61,472 the second year, according to documentation from the district.
Planned hearings
Barb Kliner, district treasurer, said each of the teachers has at least 30 years of service. The hearing for the teachers and the director for instruction is Aug. 16.
The hearing for the three principals, Daniel Bokesch, Austintown Middle School principal; James Carchedi, principal of Watson Elementary School; and Anthony Russo, principal of Woodside Elementary School, is set for July 19.
The district includes 59 teachers with at least 30 years of service. With the addition of teachers with at least 24 years, there were more than 100 teachers eligible.
The policy also offered teachers with 24 years of service, who aren't eligible to retire, the offer to resign and receive the $8,000-per-year incentive for five years under the provision.
The school board president says the policy didn't change the minds of teachers who planned to retire.
"These are teachers who weren't going to retire -- who want to keep teaching -- who are taking advantage of this program," Gessner said.
The policy also means that in two years, the district will have opening for new teachers who are looking for jobs.
"We're not losing any new positions for new graduates, and we're saving money for the district and for the taxpayers," Gessner said.

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