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Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Law may lead to more teacher retirements

St. Henry schools

By Shelley Grieshop
ST. HENRY - School officials expect an unusually high number of teachers to retire this year due to changes in state law.
The issue arose Monday night as St. Henry schools treasurer Glenn Miller outlined the district's five-year financial forecast. He told school board members he doesn't know how many teachers will actually retire but assumes several will to avoid a possible loss of benefits.
The state passed legislation earlier this year that prevents teachers who retire after July 1, 2013, from receiving an annual 2 percent cost of living adjustment for five years. Those who retire before that date will miss one COLA in 2014 but will begin receiving the benefit again at 2 percent each year after.
The goal of the state's reformed retirement plan is to beef up dwindling public retirement funds.
Miller said he appropriated an additional $140,000 for employee retirement/benefits in 2013 to cover the possible increase in severance packages.
Miller also said he included a 2 percent increase in salary step costs each fiscal year from 2014 to 2017 and a 1.5 percent overall increase in salaries each year.
St. Henry teachers are in their third year of a voluntary salary freeze, which includes no base step raises for experience or longevity. Wage increases are given for education advances such as obtaining a master's degree.
The district's appropriations for salaries and benefits in 2013 is $7.4 million. Total appropriations next year are nearly $11.4 million, according to Miller's plan.
Miller also projected an estimated 8 percent increase in employee medical insurance costs during the next five years. Other expected increases through fiscal year 2017 include a 4 percent spike in purchased services such as utilities and 5 percent for supplies and materials.
Board members approved the appropriations and Miller's five-year forecast, which shows a negative cash balance July 1, 2017 - excluding revenue from renewal/replacement and any new levies - of $441,917.
Also on Monday night, the school board "regretfully" accepted the resignation of longtime middle school secretary Donna Woeste.
"She's got 44 years with this district," superintendent Rod Moorman told the board.
He described her as a "happy-go-lucky" person whose pleasant personality brightens everyone's day.
Woeste said she began working at the school right out of high school. It was her "first and only job," she said.
"It's been a great job. I've loved every moment of it," Woeste told the board.
Middle school principal Julie Garke cried as she presented Woeste with a special St. Henry schools commemorative feather pin.
In other business, board members:
• listened as village administrator Ron Gelhaus and councilman Joe Wourms gave a presentation on the proposed 1/2 percent permanent income tax levy that voters will decide Nov. 6.
• recognized Garke for her recent appointment as member to the executive board of the Ohio Middle School Level Association.
• accepted the resignation of Jill Westgerdes as high school/middle school media center aide and approved hiring her to take Woeste's position as secretary beginning Oct. 29.
• learned interviews with two candidates are scheduled for Thursday for the food service director position.
• approved the annual FFA field trip to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., from Oct. 23-27.
• approved the annual eighth-grade field trip to Washington, D.C., from April 8-13.
• approved a memorandum of understanding with Rhodes State College, Lima, for post secondary enrollment options for 2012-2013.
• approved basketball ticket prices for this year.
• approved a request for maternity leave for high school cafeteria employee Lyn Garman beginning approximately Nov. 30.
• approved a request for maternity leave and possible use of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act for special education teacher Denise Ellinger beginning approximately Nov. 10 through December.
• approved the hiring of Josh Link as the seventh-grade boys basketball coach for this year on the condition he acquires the pupil activity permit on Thursday.
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