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2 Mahoning school superintendents to retire-rehire in new year


Published: Sun, December 30, 2012 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

SPRINGFIELD

Two Mahoning County superintendents will retire, and be rehired, in the new year.

Springfield Superintendent Debra Mettee retires Monday and will return to her post in January after winter break. West Branch Superintendent Scott Weingart is expected to retire March 1 and be rehired March 2.

Both said recent changes to the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio factored into the decision.

Mettee has been with the district 16 years, and her most recent contract does not end until Sept. 1, 2015.

Mettee will be rehired to fill the remainder of her contract, but will take a $30,000 pay cut each year. Her salary was $102,000 annually this year and drops to $72,000 next school year.

“This will save the district more than $100,000 and will allow for continuity of leadership,” Mettee said.

Mettee also serves as legal counsel for the district but is not paid anything additional for that post.

“It is a cost savings. Our staff is going on zero percent increase. It will be a zero [step and wage increase] for everyone. ... This is another way to save money without changing anything else,” she said.

Weingart will be rehired as superintendent for a new, 21/2-year contract.

Weingart will take a 10-percent pay cut reducing his annual pay from $96,000 to $86,400, which could save the district $24,000.

The decisions come after changes to the STRS system that include a provision that if members retire after July 1 next year, they have to wait five years before receiving a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment annually.

If members retire before July 1, they will not receive a cost-of-living adjustment for one year, but will then receive the 2 percent adjustments after that.

“If it weren’t for that, I probably wouldn’t have entertained this idea,” Weingart said.

He added that he believes many school employees will retire, without asking to be rehired, before July 1, because of the changes.

Weingart described retire-rehire as a “tool” to have a “good, seasoned employee at a reduced rate.”

Members of STRS who retire-rehire can draw on retirement and the reduced salary, what has been referred to as “double-dipping” by critics of the policy.

Mettee said there is an “unnecessary stigma” of retire-rehire.

“Occasionally you hear people talk of getting rid of retire-rehire. State lawmakers did pension reform, and if they wanted to get rid of it, they would have. They do see the benefit of having that option,” she added.


Comments

1Youngstown(19 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

This is a prime example of "double dipping". Their salaries are going down for the remainder of the contract, but they are making money from their pensions because they "retired". They technically have two salaries now for the same job, completely gaming the system.

Suggest removal:

2glbtactivist(261 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Greedy jerks. The retirement system is struggling to have enough money to pay the legitimate retirees and these greedy, high paid, clowns take retirement money out of the system while still working at exactly the same jobs they lied and said they were retiring from. Lets work to get them fired.

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3jg52fresh(7 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

I think this should against regulations of pension benefits. Double dipping yes, but what about taking opportunity away from upcoming talent in the education field. Principals, teachers, and administrators have beening doing this for years and its not fair. Its not right!

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4repeaters(221 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

I assume they are not going to take their perks(unpaid sick days, vacation time, etc.) at this time;just let them accumulate. So how do young people get hired and new blood in supervision? Change the composition of the school boards and get rid of 'teacher-friendly' members. Ask the boards what they 'really' did with their federal stimulus money(lot of it was used for raises)? Remember, your school is teaching to a test, so if your 'excellent'; your excellent at teaching to a test. If you let these boards steamroll all over you, then the shame is on you; the taxpayer/voter. And lastly, if you voted against SB5/issue2, then stories like this is what you supported.

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5redeye1(4696 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

All these two school districts are getting is the SAME OLD , SAME OLD , with the rehiring of these two. It's shame that they didn't bring fresh new minds with better ideas to operate their school districts.

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6ThatGirl(17 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

If this bothers you, don't blame the individuals, blame the system. Ohio's State Teachers Retirement System allows for these situations. If I were one of these superintendents, I would do the same thing.

By the way, let's not overlook the fact that $100k per year is not a huge salary for the duties that this job entails. These folks could have gotten a job in the private sector making far more money, but they chose to work in public school systems for less pay, just as teachers do.

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