With Mason City schools' decreases in certified enrollment, the staffing for the district will see adjustments in the future.
Early retirement can be used as a tool to avoid the possibility of nonrenewal of employees’ contracts, according to Mason City Schools Superintendent Dave Versteeg.
The early retirement incentive program was approved by the Mason City School Board during the Nov. 15 meeting.
Of the 110 employees who qualified for packages this year, only 18 have applied. According to board secretary Cherie Yoder, that number of applicants is about average, as 15 to 20 employees apply each year.
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Early retirement incentives are reviewed annually and approved on a year to year basis by the school board.
The number of accepted early retirement applications is up to the school board according to Versteeg. He added he is not aware of any qualified applicant being denied in past years.
"We have a goal of reducing staff for next school year based on the loss of enrollment over the last two years, and having more retirements should be advantageous but it does depend on the position and the needs of the district," said Versteeg in an email.
According to the district, a retiree's position is often filled by an employee earning a lower salary, which offsets the costs of providing the early retirement incentive. The district will analyze each retiring position to see if a replacement is needed or if the position can be combined with another.
"It's possible that several of these positions would not be replaced depending on the assignment," said Versteeg via email. "When we have a complete list of who is retiring and compare it to the estimated enrollment in each building we will have a better idea of what the impact will be."
The total early retirement payment cost for the submitted applications this year would be just over $335,000. The program is funded by a levy in Mason City Community School District's management fund.
Abby covers education and entertainment for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at Abby.Koch@GlobeGazette.com