HAMPSTEAD – After receiving a seventh request for retirement, the Hampstead School Board opened discussion of the retirement incentive contained in the Hampstead Education Association contract.
The retirement incentive states, “The Board will offer a retirement incentive to as many as five members per year. The Board may offer an incentive to more than five members but is under no obligation to do so to more than five members.”
To qualify for the incentive, staffs must have 15 years at the Hampstead School District and be at least 55 years old and eligible for retirement under the New Hampshire Retirement System. To get a retirement incentive, the request for retirement must be submitted to the superintendent in writing by Feb. 1 of the last full year of work.
Retirement incentive is determined by seniority in the event more than five retirement requests are received. Staff who are not granted incentive can withdraw their retirement plans if they wish.
Retirement incentive is calculated to 1 1/2 percent of the employee’s final year salary multiplied by the number of years in the Hampstead School District to a maximum of 30 percent in 2013-14, 35 percent in years 2014-2016, and 40 percent in year 2016-17. The retirement incentive is a lump sum paid no later than Aug. 15 following the retirement date.
Submitting requests for the retirement incentive thus far are Susan Brassard, Betty Ann Edmondson, Joann Erickson, Cheryl E. Sumner, Patricia Huntington, Kathe Cussen, and Valerie Gregoski.
The board put off a decision until the next meeting. It requested information on whether there would likely be more than five retirements going forward, whether there was a trend for one or the other school’s staff or a particular subject matter, the anticipated costs of the retirement incentive, and the cost of providing all seven with retirement incentive, vs. five.
Assistant Superintendent Roxanne Wilson told the board that approving the first five of this year’s seven retirement requests would cost $157,000. If the board decided to add the other two, it would add another $47,000. She will try to bring back answers to the board’s questions at its Feb. 11 meeting.
In other business at the Jan. 28 meeting:
• Member Jim Stewart asked whether use of the school’s facilities and fields by non-school-sponsored events required those groups to provide proof of liability insurance. Wilson said she would look at the Facilities Use Policy and find out the answer.
• Wilson informed the board that the steam table at the middle school had sprung a leak and its wiring required repair. Facilities Director Michael Hall said the cost would be $4,500. There is enough in the budget to cover this expense and she directed that it be taken care of.
• Wilson said the Blizzard Bag Online Learning Program was ready to be implemented and announcement of such a day would be on the town cable, posted on the school Website and sent out through the district’s automated messaging system, Power/Announcement.
However, she found an unintended consequence has to be addressed. Non-teaching staff will also participate, given either specific work for their job or personal development work, and they will be required to show they did the work, However, if the program should not be successful, these hourly wage earners would have put in an extra four hours of work, and by law must be paid for that time.
She said the total cost, in the event the district has a Blizzard Bag day but did not get the 80 percent participation needed to erase the need for a make-up day, would be $5,500 for the 90 non-teaching staff.
“I would not go forward with the Blizzard Bag Online Learning program without board approval of paying these staff people in the event of a program failure,” she said.
The board approved the payment.