Oswego School Board Says No To Early Retirement Plan

OSWEGO, NY – At a special meeting Tuesday evening, the Oswego City School District Board of Education voted against adopting two retirement incentive programs.

The first resolution was to provide benefits of the Chapter 105 Part A retirement incentive to all targeted employees who are members of NYS Teachers’ Retirement System and who retire with an effective date of retirement during the “open period” commencing on June 2, 2010 and ending Aug. 31, 2010 and who are otherwise eligible to participate in such program

The second resolution was to provide the benefits of Part A of Chapter 105 of the Laws, 2010, commencing on July 27, 2010, for all eligible employees who retire with an effective date of retirement set during the 36-day period beginning with and immediately following the commencement date and who are otherwise eligible as specified by Part A of Chapter 105, Laws of 2010.

The plan would have provided a retirement incentive for teachers and other district employees who are 50 years old with 10 years of service.

New York State Part A Retirement Incentive initiative was signed by the governor in April.

However, it requires approval by local boards before it can be implemented.

New board member Kathy Allen was absent, as was board member Fran Hoefer.

To pass, the resolutions needed at least a four-vote majority (of the board, not of board members present).

The first failed 2-3-2 with John Dunsmoor, Sam Tripp and Dave White voting no. Tom DeCastro and Jim Tschudy voted yes.

The second vote was 3-2-2 with White, Tschudy and DeCastro voting yes.

“At this time, and based on the information that was provided it became the position of the board that they voted on how they felt, and the position that it would have left the district in afterwards,” said Bill Crist, superintendent. “Part A is selective in terms of us being able to target areas. There was some concern about whether we would target all or just some parts of the whole.”

The board felt that to not offer it to anybody was the most equitable way to go, he explained.

If district employees are interested in retiring, they still can, he said, adding, “Some of them would retire with penalty, obviously without the incentive.”

Those who are of full retirement age and have the necessary years of service could retire and collect full benefits, Crist said. The program would have provided some additional incentive for them, he added.

“But, again, when you talk about the equity of people who have already retired and you look at the people who could have retired under this incentive, (the board) just felt that this was the best way to proceed,” Crist said.

More than 130 people are qualified. But when you go and solicit input from them as to whether they would even want to retire that number came down significantly, the superintendent pointed out.

Nineteen district employees could have taken the incentive. There were 13 teachers and 6 support staff, he said.

“That’s just showing an interest. Whether those people, when presented with the incentive, would have actually taken it we don’t know that,” Crist said. “That created some unknown amongst the board.”

The true number of the savings isn’t really known; and it’s not until you get employees to commit (to retire), the superintendent explained.