By Janie Southard
Eligible teachers in the Celina district can enjoy an additional $15,000 retirement benefit if they submit their resignation on or before May 13.
In a special meeting last week, board members approved a memorandum of understanding with the Celina Education Association (CEA) to implement an early retirement incentive plan. Eligible teachers are those with 30 or more years, 15 of which have been served in the Celina district.
Superintendent Fred Wiswell said the incentive is an "effort to maximize savings to the district as well as to reward the employees." Savings could be obtained by not replacing a teacher who retires or by hiring a teacher with a lower degree, who would not require as high of pay, he said.
Board members decided the incentive will be given to only 10 eligible teachers, which will be based on seniority.
Of the more than 30 teachers eligible for retirement, those interested in the incentive will have the option to receive $15,000 or to purchase another service year toward retirement pension benefits.
Currently teachers who retire at 30 years receive 66 percent of their three-year average pay, but those with 35 years receive 87.5 percent. So, it's likely those who have decided to work the full 35 years will do so.
"That last five years is worth a lot in retirement money," District Treasurer Mike Marbaugh said following the meeting. Forty years give teachers 100 percent.
"Businesses do this all the time -- offer early retirement benefits," board member Tom Rable said. "So what we're doing is nothing new."
In other business, board members approved a letter in support of the ethanol plant for which Celina is one of three possible locations. The plant, if secured by the city, would bring 50-80 jobs at the mill level and more than 300 construction jobs to the area.
The board's letter states they support a 100 percent tax abatement over 10 years with appropriate donations to the school system in lieu of paying taxes.
The school board also approved Rable and Matt Gilmore as board representatives in the up-coming negotiations with both certified and classified staff.