Shorewood Teacher Retirements Down this Year
In contrast to recent years, not as many teachers are leaving the district, but there are still a few familiar faces exiting — and the question of which retirement benefits they should receive has surfaced.
Teacher retirements have waned significantly in contrast to previous years, but there are still a few familiar faces leaving district classrooms and hallways this year following a wave of requests approved by officials.
Joan Geary, a special education teacher at Shorewood High School, is the lone educator to retire thus far, according to Business Manager Mark Boehlke.
Other faces including Benjamin Heupel, teacher at Shorewood Intermediate School, fill-in Shorewood Intermediate School social studies teacher Mariclare Kanaley, Atwater Elementary art teacher Nancy Kampmeier and library media specialist Susan Hersh have announced they would leave Shorewood this school year but haven’t been in the district long enough to retire.
Additionally, long-time district maintenance operations employees Norm Greene and Louis Johnson announced they would retire this school year along with Lake Bluff Elementary secretary Peggy Eannelli.
The School Board historically averages five teacher retirements each year, according to Boehlke, but that number had doubled in the last two years.
Officials make decisions on retiree benefits this school year
With school officials looking deeper into which retirement benefits, excluding pensions, are offered to its employees, school officials have run into the question of which benefits should be given to those retiring this year.
A pact between the district and the Shorewood Education Association — the district teacher’s union — expired June 30, 2011, but the School Board agreed to allow Geary to receive benefits outlined in the last collective bargaining agreement. The last agreement allowed teachers to receive benefits for five years or until they are eligible for Medicare. Geary will receive five years of retirement benefits — with an extra two months to account for 60-day gap between the benefits ending and reaching Medicare age — and pay the current premium.
Eannelli will also receive benefits outlined in the secretarial pact with the district that expired in July — a max of six years or until Medicare age.
Maintenance employees have a current collective bargaining agreement with the district, so Greene and Johnson will receive six years max of benefits or until they reach Medicare age.
Officials say decisions regarding employee retirement benefits this year shall be considered on a case-by-case basis and considered non-precedent setting.
During its last budget cycle, the district saved about $275,000 from a turnover of staff. As veteran teachers — who are at the top of the district pay scale — retire, it paves the way for younger teachers to enter the district at lesser salaries. Secretarial and custodial retirements also contributed to the savings last year.
Boehlke said he will begin to update that figure for this year as the district starts its budget mapping process in the next few days.
The deadline to file a retirement request is November, but the School Board has the option of approving them later in the year.