8 Greensburg Salem teachers must opt for early-retirement deal for incentives to take effect
The Greensburg Salem School District is offering teachers and other employees early-retirement incentive packages in hopes of realizing immediate savings.
In 9-0 votes on Wednesday, school directors backed the retirement packages for educators, custodians, maintenance workers and an administrative assistant.
The district would pay each retiree a yearly cash stipend of $4,000 and make a $4,000 contribution to their retirement accounts. The packages offer provisions for life insurance and medical coverage.
“We're going to save, on average, about $20,000 per teacher” who retires, Superintendent Eileen Amato said after the meeting.
At least eight teachers must opt for retirement for that package to take effect.
The district saves money because better-paid experienced employees are replaced by younger employees earning less, Amato said.
In an email, business manager James Meyer said he was unable to give an estimated cost savings for custodial, maintenance and other employees because of uncertainty about how many workers might retire. He did not return messages seeking comment.
Board President Nat Pantalone and Director Lee Kunkle said they voted to support the retirement packages because of their potential savings.
“Right now, we need to look at every possible realistic way to save money,” Kunkle said.
The district will make the cash payments and retirement contributions on Sept. 15. The district's payments will be made the first five years after the teacher, custodian, maintenance worker or administrative assistant retires.
The district offered the cash incentive for the first time under a 2011 retirement package.
To be eligible, a teacher must complete at least 30 years of service, with at least 15 years worked in the district. A custodial, maintenance or administrative assistant employee must complete 25 years of service, with at least 10 years worked in the district.
None of the employees must reach a set age to retire, as required in past plans.
The retirements must take place on or before June 30, and employees must apply by 4 p.m. April 15.
In another matter, in a 5-4 vote, directors rejected the 2013-14 Westmoreland Intermediate Unit general operating budget of $5.36 million.
Kunkle, Pantalone, Ron Mellinger, Barbara Vernail and Angela DeMarino-Tooch voted no.
More budget cuts could have been made, they said.
Vernail, the district's representative on the IU board, Kunkle and Pantalone said salaries were not frozen under the new budget.
Administrators needed “to lead by example” by taking freezes, Vernail said.
“They're continuing to give administrators raises and here we are cutting and having people take pay freezes,” Kunkle added.
All 86 IU employees would need to accept a wage freeze for one to occur, Financial Director Allison Willis said. The operating budget covers 18 of those employees. Those 18 received an average 4.65 percent raise under the 2013-14 budget, she said.
The IU will consider wage freezes when the current agreements expire at the end of the 2013-14 school year, Executive Director Luanne Matta said.
“At that point, we can make all the necessary changes,” Matta said.
She added she earns less than many school superintendents in Westmoreland County.
Support personnel froze their wages in 2012-13, Willis said.
The operating budget covers eAcademy, general administration, curriculum and technology programs. The IU's larger $52 million budget covers special education, transportation and early intervention programs, Willis said.
The operating budget has increased by about $540,000 since the current year's spending plan. But the IU has undergone a restructuring with the 2013-14 budget that makes year-to-year comparisons difficult, Willis said.
For instance, more eAcademy teachers have been hired, but a spike in students in that program brings in more revenue, she said.
Under the new operating budget, the district would pay $5,840 more, for a total $27,332.
Most of the 17 member school districts in the county must vote for the IU spending plan for it to pass.
Directors set May 10 as a makeup day.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Fast-growing Americans for Prosperity opens location in Greensburg
- $7.6M buyout at Hempfield prison site clouds sale
- Latrobe police to form DUI task force
- Court in the Classroom program provides insight for Norwin High School students
- Unity lawyer to vie for Westmoreland County judgeship
- Excela center proposal worries residents of Hempfield neighborhood
- Sale of former SCI Greensburg prison to advance despite lawmakers’ objections
- Baby sitter arraigned on assault charges; Hempfield woman high on heroin, state police say
- Police claim woman stabbed husband at their Jeannette business
- Deputy sheriff seeks top spot in Greensburg office
- Southwest Greensburg chef moves from restaurant into W.Pa. schools