ROCK SPRINGS — The Sweetwater County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees voted unanimously tonight to offer an early retirement incentive of $50,000 to certified staff and administrators who qualify under its terms.
The incentive is being offered in an effort to avoid a reduction of professional staff in anticipation of projected budget cuts. It will be offered to higher-paid certified staff and administrators, according to Chief Financial Officer Scot Duncan.
Participation in the incentive will be limited to 35 employees on a first-come, first-serve basis. Eligible employees will have between December 16, 2020, and February 1, 2021, to apply for early retirement which can be accessed through their Frontline Education account.
Duncan explained that employees must also meet two criteria in order to be eligible for the incentive:
- The employee must have completed a minimum of 15 years of cumulative, credited service with the district immediately prior to the effective date of severance.
- The employee is eligible for retirement under the Wyoming Retirement System.
An employee is considered eligible for full retirement when:
- Under Tier 1 (first contribution made before 9/1/2012), you reach age 60 and are vested; or
- Under Tier 2 (first contribution made after 9/1/2012), age 65 and vested; or
- “Rule of 85” – Age plus years of service equal 85 or more.
An employee is eligible for reduced retirement when:
- Under Tier 1 (first contribution made before 9/1/2012), you reach age 50 and are vested; or
- Under Tier 2 (first contribution made after 9/1/2012), age 55 and vested; or
- You have completed 25 years of service.
Last year the district offered a $40,000 early retirement package. Duncan said the increase to $50,000 was because employees had a relatively short time to decide whether to take the incentive. He also said the district needs to reach 35 employees in order to save money.
Superintendent Kelly McGovern said that in the district’s budget projections for next year, even without further legislative cuts, the district will be out more than $3 million. The reduction of 35 higher-paid employees will free up money to retain lesser-paid staff who often leave the state and don’t return, McGovern said.
Certified staff members and administrators who don’t intend to renew their contracts for the next school year will also be eligible for a $500 incentive if they give the district notice by March 2, 2021.
Sick Leave Payout
The board also approved a one-time sick leave payout for certified retiring staff at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
This payout will be available only for those retiring certified staff members or administrators who have notified the district in writing by February 1, 2021.
Under this incentive, staff members must complete their 2020-2021 school year contract with a payout consisting of 50% of the daily substitute pay rate ($87.50) for the number of accrued sick days available at the end of the certified staff member’s contract year.
This one-time sick leave payout will be paid by direct deposit on May 27, 2021, for certified teachers, June 9, 2021, for 10-month administrators, and June 16, 2021, for 12-month administrators.