School Board Offers 310 Workers Early Retirement Incentive Plan

February 23, 1992|By Donna Boller | Donna Boller,Staff writer

The county school board is offering 310 senior school system employees an early retirement incentive plan that includes a lump-sum cash payment and full health insurance coverage to age 65.

School officials said they anticipated that 88 employees -- 34 of them teachers --would take the early retirement, saving the county an estimated $225,000 in 1992-1993. The board approved the offer at Tuesday's meeting.

Superintendent Michael E. Hickey said additional savings would result from being able to pay lower salaries to the less-experienced employees who replace the retiring workers.

The superintendent said he may be able to move some of the 34 employees whose jobs are proposed for elimination in 1992-1993 into positions vacated by early retirees, "so there's a humanitarian benefit."

Whether the offer is a good deal for employees depends on the individual situation, said Marius Ambrose, Maryland State Teachers Association service representative for Howard County.

"It's a good deal for someone who has 30 years in and could retire," Ambrose said.

Employees with fewer than 30years will have to weigh the annual 6 percent reduction they will take on their pensions by retiring early against the cash payment, he said.

In other action, two advocates for night school told board members that an evening high school program could help potential dropouts earn their diplomas and provide an alternative to the seven-periodday, which has been stalled for lack of money. The board asked Associate Superintendent James R. McGowan to appoint a task force to studythe idea.

Evening school could be financed through tuition and government grants, said Clarence E. Miller, assistant principal at Glenelg High School. State regulations allow school systems to charge tuition to students who are enrolled in regular school classes, but not to students who are taking evening courses only, he said.

Pupil personnel worker Margaret Schultz said potential students of an eveningschool could include people living on their own and teen parents whoare on waiting lists for day care. The school system's teen-parent program is at capacity.

The board also scheduled a public hearing for Thursday on a proposed school calendar that calls for starting classes Aug. 31, one week before Labor Day.

Parents, students and school officials who drew up the calendar reached a consensus that favored starting before Labor Day, Sept. 7, in order to end school on June17, 1993. The traditional post-Labor Day start would extend the school year to June 24.

The board is scheduled to vote on the calendarMarch 12.

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