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Monday, February 9th, 2009

Teachers offered new severance package

By William Kincaid
Looking for ways to cut expenses, Fort Recovery Local Schools is offering a new severance package to entice eligible teachers to resign or retire, according to school administrators.
The option, approved recently by both the board of education and Fort Recovery Education Association (teacher union), would give an annuity payable over five or eight years depending on a teacher's circumstances.
The package works in two ways, according to Treasurer Lori Koch.
Teachers who are eligible to retire under State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS), but are still working, are now being offered an annuity payable over five years in addition to their normal severance package. The annuity amount will depend on various conditions, including how long they have worked, according to Koch.
Also, any teacher who has worked at least 12 years under STRS - whether all at Fort Recovery or not - is being offered an annuity payable over eight years at a total maximum amount of $40,000.
No one has accepted the terms yet, but Koch said the process has just started as the information was just given to teachers recently. Financial counselors are available to assist those interested, she said.
Asked why board members initiated the policy, Superintendent David Riel said Fort Recovery is facing financial issues just like Ford, GM and local factories and is looking for ways to reduce expenses.
"Obviously with salaries and benefits being 80 percent of the money you spend, you look at personnel," Riel said this morning.
Like some of the major companies, Riel said those in charge can either lay off or offer an incentive for some to resign or retire.
"It's basically the exact same conception you would see in the business world," he said.
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