Share This Page

Deer Lakes offers longtime teachers an early retirement package

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 12:32 a.m.

The Deer Lakes School District is offering an early retirement incentive to teachers, as the district continues to negotiate a new contract with its union.

The school board approved the incentive Tuesday. Teachers would have until Jan. 16 to take it, district Solicitor Raymond Sekula said.

The offer would give teachers who take it up to seven years of health care benefits, Sekula said.

Sekula said district officials are aware of at least two teachers interested in the offer.

To retire under the state system, teachers must have 35 years of service, or 30 years and be age 60, or be 62 years old, Sekula said. He said the teachers known to be interested are “near misses,” having 30 years of service but being shy of age 60.

Early retirements would allow the district to save money by replacing retiring teachers with lower paid new hires, or by not filling the vacancies at all, Business Manager Dennis Thimons said.

Sekula said the incentive is provided for in the teachers' last contract, which expired in June.

Sekula said the district and teachers, members of the Deer Lakes Education Association, are still negotiating and making progress “slowly.”

Talks, which include a state mediator, are expected to resume after a break for Christmas.

“I'm optimistic there will be a settlement,” Sekula said.

Officers chosen

Re-elected board members James McCaskey, Lisa Merlo and Clara Salvi and newly elected member Phillip Ziendarski were sworn into office by District Judge Carolyn Bengel.

McCaskey, previously board vice president, was named president, replacing Merlo. Jodi Banyas-Galecki was named vice president after Merlo declined a nomination for the position.

Recent former Director Michael Coletta was appointed to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Michael Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh resigned in November, citing work commitments.

Coletta's seat on the board was up for election this year. He said a problem with filing his elections paperwork prevented him from appearing on the ballot for re-election.

He will serve the remaining two years of Cava-naugh's term.

Ziendarski was the only board member to vote against appointing Coletta. Members L. Douglas McCausland and William Lupone Jr. were absent.

Early dismissal set

The board approved an early dismissal for students on Dec. 20.

The middle and high schools will be dismissed at 11 a.m.; Curtisville Primary Center and East Union Intermediate Center will be dismissed at noon.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.