Twenty-two Solon teachers, many of the district's best and brightest, will retire at the end of the school year.
But they'll be back next year too, since these teachers plan to take advantage of Solon's retire/rehire program. District officials praise the program as a win for the schools, the taxpayers and the teachers.
"This has been an extremely important part of our financial expenditure puzzle," said Superintendent Joe Regano. "We've been able to move higher salaries out and move newer salaries in."
The retire/rehire program allows teachers to receive their state retirement incentive while also receiving their full salaries from the school district.The key is that these teachers can only work one more year, and then must retire for good.
That means Solon will then hire new teachers, who will be paid much lower salaries. , it's a way for the school district to reduce its overall personnel costs, which make up the vast majority of the district's expenses.
Regano said that by next school year, about 60 teachers will be on that reduced salary schedule. And right now the district anticipates it will be hiring about 50 new teachers in spring 2013, which will release even more pressure on personnel costs.
School officials say the other financial benefit of the retire/rehire program is that the district doesn't pay the health benefits for those employees, which further eases the financial burdens on property taxpayers.
Regano said that having a year to plan on replacing a teacher also helps get the best candidate in place.
"We are stewards of your money that you provide for your school district," said Board President Margo Morrow. "This is the business side of running a school that you have to look at all your expenses and how you can stream line them. This has been a great program for us."
A public hearing on these retire/rehires will be held at the June 11 board meeting. A hearing concerning one employee will also be held in August.
In all, 23 employees, 22 of which are teachers, plan to participate in the program. Here is a school-by-school breakdown:
Debbie Wendl, Director of Internal Services
Cheryl Antognoli, Preschool
Karen Billington, Interventionist
Marsha Blankson, First Grade
Anne Bonfils, First Grade
Susan Curran, Media Specialist
Cheri Mackey, Preschool
Mary Moore, Second Grade
Cynthia Bomeli, Fourth Grade
Kathleen Burger, Second Grade
Kathy Foley, Fourth Grade
Debra Martin, Kindergarten
Marie Pederson, First Grade
LaVenia Mack, Sixth Grade
Ellen Minch, Art
Barbara Neuin, Sixth Grade
Carrie Sheridan, Art
Scott Stuart, Sixth Grade
Sandra Kearns, Interventionist
Drew Kirian, Science
Jenney Pumpa, Family and Consumer Sciences
Donna Ross, Science
Richard Toburen, Science