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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Village Buzz - February 23rd

School Board, Education, Germantown, Political

Germantown teacher retirements now number nearly twenty and there are several more, possibly up to another six, that are supposedly considering retirement.  The deadline was February 1st but the district would probably approve the remainder given the current situation.

Notables among the group are Jim Blackburn (straight retirement - no 'buy-out') and Jane Mandli whom I believe is the current GEA union head.  I suspect some retirements may have been prompted by the current labor issues being debated in Madison, while others were simply decisions that the individuals made irrespective of the current climate.

The eligibility criteria, as I understand those, are that the individual be at least 55 years old and have at least 15 years of employment.  Once the district approves the retirement request it becomes final.  The district is bound to continue health plan premium payments for the retired individual for up to eight years or until the individual becomes eligible for Medicare.

Further complicating the school district’s planning is the need to make determinations as to teachers who may be subject to lay-off.  Preliminary notices must be issued by March 1st and final notices must be issued by March 15th.  Given the continued state of flux in Madison, the district is in the difficult position of having to comply with this requirement before it fully understands the fiscal situation with which it will live for the coming year.

There is, potentially, a sea change in the offing.  It will have significant effect, if it progresses down the path it appears to be on, on the individual teacher as well as the district and the taxpayers.

The continued political posturing in Madison is doing nothing to help the district with its planning.  The teachers are not the only people potentially to be affected, either.  The non-teaching administrative staff could see a new world unfolding.

While the retirements may ease the need for lay-offs in some instances, there is still the staffing shortfall and lost experience factors that must be factored into the equation.

These deadlines are part of what hang in the balance as the debate in Madison moves slowly given the inability of the Senate to tackle the issues that would provide resolution.  The current discussion about bringing the fiscal year deficit under control is only part of the problem.  The next budget needs to be laid out, debated and passed so the district knows what it will face.

Resolution is urgently needed.  That does not speak to whether one agrees with the resolution or not, but simply to the problems caused by lack of resolution.

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