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Retired teacher receives nearly $37,000 in severance package

Whitefish Bay School Board signals intentions on employee benefits

July 15, 2011

Whitefish Bay - The School Board likely signaled its intention to continue to offer severance packages to eligible employees when it approved the retirement of Richards School second-grade teacher Susan Rymer on July 13.

Rymer, who has taught in the schools since 1992 and in the Whitnall district for 10 years prior to that, retired with the severance package allowed under the now defunct teachers' contract for the last school year.

The district is developing an employee handbook that will spell out working conditions and employee benefits but does not expect that to be finished for several months. Some portions of it, including a grievance procedure, will be in place for the start of the school year, according to discussion at the recent School Board meeting.

"For other employee groups we still have a retiree severance package," Director of Human Resources Mark Kapocius said after the meeting. "This can be seen as a signal that we will continue some sort of a severance package, although the board will have to look at exactly what it wants to provide."

Teachers were required to submit notice of their intent to retire by Feb. 1, but the Personnel and Policy Committee, chaired by Member Pam Woodard, accepted Rymer's later notice. The request was submitted within the last few weeks.

Under the terms of the severance package, the district will pay Rymer 110 days pay and 1/12 of a days' pay for each day of unused sick leave (capped at 90 days). Rymer had 83 unused sick days which pays out to slightly more than $2,000. Sick pay plus severance pay totaled $36,737, Kapocius said.

The district will continue her health insurance until she reaches Medicare eligibility, which Kapocius said would be within several months.

Rymer is the only teacher to retire since June 30, the last day the contract with the teachers union was in effect.

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