Teacher talks: JPS looks at early retirementNegotiations between the Jamestown Education Association and the Jamestown School Board developed Thursday as both sides laid out proposals for a new two-year contract. Early retirement was the subject of one of the major changes proposed by the School Board.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Negotiations between the Jamestown Education Association and the Jamestown School Board developed Thursday as both sides laid out proposals for a new two-year contract.
Early retirement was the subject of one of the major changes proposed by the School Board.
The proposed changes would essentially remove the “early” from early retirement and allow benefits for everyone who retires that meets current criteria, said Superintendent Bob Toso after the meeting.
“What we’re trying to do is simplify and make every teacher eligible for benefits,” Toso said.
Early retirement is voluntary plan in which an employee receives a one-time payment if he or she decides to retire early.
The rule of 85 would still exist. That means an employee is eligible for the benefit when their age and years of credited service add up to 85.
Under the School Board’s proposal, current incentives for early retirement would be struck, and the board would cap combined payments for all of those retiring at $150,000 a year. If requests exceed that amount, payments would be divided out based on the number applicants.
“We felt we needed some sort of safeguard for the district,” said Rosemary McDougall, School Board member.
Retiring employees would be eligible to receive payments for unused sick leave, but instead of the current formula it would be the number of days times whatever substitute teachers are paid per day. Currently, that’s $102. The maximum number of sick leave days employees can accumulate is currently 130.
JEA had its own proposal relating to sick leave: creating a sick leave bank so employees could share sick leave days with fellow workers facing with a serious illness.
In this plan, employees would be given a chance to deposit two sick leave days apiece into the bank, said JEA representative Donette Rasmussen, school counselor at Jamestown Middle School and department chair.
The bank would be there for employees who have used all of their personal sick leave days. They would be able to apply to the bank for up to 45 days of sick leave at a time.
Employees could use days if the cause for the sick leave bank is classified as catastrophic illness. They would not be required to repay sick leave taken out from the bank.
“Several districts do have it, and we modeled it after districts that have it in place,” Rasmussen said.
Accumulated sick leave days currently are not paid, she said after the meeting, and a bank would have been a benefit in the past.
“We had a few staff members that could have really benefitted from that the past couple of years,” she said.
Both sides also gave their proposals for salaries.
The School Board proposed a 3.62 percent increase of the base salary of $28,530 to $29,250 for the first year, and $30,500 for the second year. JEA proposed $31,500 for the first year and $33,500 for the second year.
Neither party was able to debate any proposal at this meeting.
The next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 17 in the Thompson Community Room at the Jamestown Middle School.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org