Eighty-eight county school system employees signed up for the early-retirement incentive program offered by the school board, precisely the number school officials estimated when the board opened the optionin an effort to cut personnel costs.
Hitting the number on the nose "was sheer coincidence," said Kirk Thompson, retirement coordinator for the school system. He said staff members will not know for several weeks how much money the school system will save.
School officials had estimated the savings at approximately $225,000 if 88 of the 312 eligible employees opted for early retirement. But the people who retired weren't precisely the ones school officialsthought might take the offer, Thompson said. The cash incentives have to be calculated individually before a savings figure will be available, he said.
The early retirement offer is designed to save personnel costs by leaving some jobs unfilled and filling others with younger, lower-paid workers.
Thompson said preliminary figures show 40 of the 119 eligible teachers signed up for early retirement, including one occupational therapist, one guidance counselor and one resource teacher.
Of 25 eligible principals or assistant principals, eight opted for early retirement. In the school system's central administration, six of 12 eligible employees signed up.
The remaining 35 employees are scattered across job categories, Thompson said. Those categories include clerical, custodial and warehouse, maintenance, technical, instructional assistants and food service workers.
The 88 employees will end their careers with the county school system at theend of the fiscal year June 30. They will continue under present medical insurance plans until they reach age 65, and will receive cash payments based on a percentage of their salaries that varies by the number of years they are retiring ahead of schedule.
An employee retiring less than two years early, for example, will get 0.8 percent ofhis or her salary in cash; one retiring five years early receives 2.8 percent.