SCHOOLS Many teachers accept option to retire early
The board president says the incentive will save the district millions.
By MONICA BOND
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The Warren School District's five-year financial forecast looks much better after 29 teachers accepted the district's early retirement option.
Board president Linda Metzendorf said the district will save $865,928 in the 2006 fiscal year.
"Early retirement was a negotiated item in the last contract that allows people of retirement age to retire early," she said.
The district pays a $20,000 retirement buyout and severance pay -- what's left in vacation and sick time -- the first year.
The district will pay a total of $865,928 in buyouts and severance pay for the 2006 fiscal year, which starts June 30.
Metzendorf said savings for 2006 will be $1,418,000. Since the district will not have to pay the buyout and severance in 2007, 2008, or 2009, savings for each of those years will be $2,284,000.
Metzendorf said those savings do not include the savings from three administrative retirements.
"We didn't include a principal at McGuffey, an assistant principal at Reserve, or a K-8 curriculum director because we wanted to wait to see what a new superintendent wants to do," she said.
The three administrative positions could either be replaced or eliminated by a new superintendent. Metzendorf said if the jobs were eliminated, the district would save even more, but they didn't want to count on it now.
"I said let's just give what we can base our lives on right now," she said.
The district is also looking for ways to reduce workers' compensation claims. The projected cost for the 2006 premium is $1,357,379 -- 183 percent above average for a district with a similar payroll, Metzendorf said.
"Accidents cost money -- they're a total loss," she said. "We have a very good safety team, but we must get this under better control."
Metzendorf said she asked board members Ed Bolino and Nedra Bowen to serve on a newly created Board Safety Committee that will report to the school board once a month.
"They'll meet with the district safety committee and the workers' comp people," she said. "We're really trying to get proactive."