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S. Tama pulls employee early retirement option for 2013

December 1, 2012
By John Speer - Editor , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Retirement plans may have to be put on hold for some South Tama School District employees.

Voting 5-0 at the Monday night Nov. 19 board meeting, the early retirement incentive offered to teachers, administrators and support staff was suspended for the current year by the school board.

What this means is school district employees who planned retirement next year won't be entitled to what amounted to a bonus which could pay $35,000 over five years.

School board members were told by Superintendent Kerri Nelson they had a choice to raise the property tax levy to cover the cost or decline the program. Nelson said the effects of a state-ordered 10 percent school funding reduction in 2010 continues to be a factor in school finance matters.

Nelson estimated from eight to 10 district employees would be affected by the decision.

Seth Koch, South Tama High School teacher, told the school board some teachers remain at South Tama at a lower pay rate than other districts but consider the retirement plan "something to look forward to." Koch is president of the South Tama EducationAssociation (teachers organization.)

He pointed to staff members "who have put in 30-35 years and have financially planned for this for some time."

He said the early retirement incentive is a "tradition and expectation" that had been in place at South Tama for more than 20 years.

As part of the early retirement incentive portion of South Tama Board Policy, a yearly review is required and indications were Monday the board did not plan to abandon the plan in future years.

The Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) is not affected by early retirement plans. Eligibility and benefits are set by law according to the system website.

In other business on Nov. 19 the school board:

accepted the resignation of Katie Murphy to co-direct the spring play and Jeff DeBondt as head 7th grade football coach.

approved an agreement with EduCare Learning Center Inc. for tutoring services.

approved a contract with Drive Tek Inc. to provide drivers education and related services for the district. Students will pay $350 to enroll.

approved a contract for Des Moines Metro Opera / Opera Iowa for presentation of an elementary school program on Feb. 23 at a cost of $450. Community members Yvonne Mallory and Nancy Burk have actively pursued the program on behalf of the school district it was noted.

approved application for year 2014 funding for open enrollment out increasing enrollment and limited English proficiency to the Iowa Department of Education.

approved a memorandum of understanding between MICA / Headstart and the district.



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