Brown Deer — Ten of the 11 teachers in the school district who are eligible for retirement will do so June 30.
The teachers' contract and the benefits that are part of it will expire that day.
"Although it is still not known what will happen, they are assuming retirement benefits will change July 1," said Business Manager Emily Koczela.
Teachers who retire in June are eligible for five days of pay for every year they worked in the district. That benefit, which ranges from a low of $35,460 to a high of $43,438 for the current group of upcoming retirees, is paid out in equal installments over five years. The district will pay $82,050 to those retirees in the 2011-2012 school year.
Koczela said the pay-out benefit was originally designed as an incentive to encourage teachers to retire early, thereby saving districts money. Back when health insurance was $4,000 a year, that might have been true, she said, but it does not save money now. All teachers now get the benefit when they retire.
Teachers will also receive health insurance coverage until they reach Medicare eligibility. Four of the 10 are 55, while the rest are between 57 and 61 years of age. The estimated insurance benefit cost for that group for the 2011-2012 school year is $156,166 based on the current cost of health insurance.
Koczela outlined a list of upcoming issues that the School Board should begin to think about because of the implications of the budget repair bill.
The changes in collective bargaining limit it to only salary no greater than the Consumer Price Index. Teachers can no longer bargain for overtime, steps and lane pay increases and special pay. Contracts can only be for one year.
"As we work through what we are going to do with the contract, how will we meet our goals," she said.
Those goals are as follows, she said:
• be respectful and sensitive to challenges of this transition;
• retain competitive salaries and benefits;
• maintain financial sustainability;
• employ best practices to listen and collaborate; and
• remain child-centered.
Under the provisions of the budget repair bill, teachers will begin to pay 12.5 percent of their health care costs, which will be a modest increase for Brown Deer staff, which is currently paying 10 percent. They will also be required to pay 5.8 percent of their retirement costs. They do not pay any of those costs now. Those changes would be effective July 1 because they are governed by the current contract through June 30. Anyone who is not part of the union will begin paying those costs April 1, Koczela said.
- Mary Buckley
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