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Carbondale News - Carbondale, PA
  • CA outlines details of teachers' early retirement plan

  • Carbondale Area School District officials provided the NEWS last week with details of an early retirement incentive proposal which has been offered to teachers, two weeks after the plan was adopted by the school board.


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  • Carbondale Area School District officials provided the NEWS last week with details of an early retirement incentive proposal which has been offered to teachers, two weeks after the plan was adopted by the school board.
    The board approved the offer by a vote of 8-1 at a special meeting on Jan. 24, but school directors and other officials refused to release the specific details of the plan at that time — even when they were accused of violating the state’s Sunshine Act.
    Director Tracey Andrews cast the lone dissenting vote, saying she did so because of the decision to withhold information about it.
    “I don’t know why they chose to keep it a secret,” she told the NEWS.  “It looked like we were hiding something.”
    However, in an interview last week with district superintendent Dr. Dominick Famularo and business manager David Cerra, the specifics of the proposal were laid out. 
    “It’s really not an incentive,” offered Famularo, who described it instead as a slight modification of the early retirement plan offered in the current teachers’ contract.
    He explained that the current contract allows teachers and staff who are 55 years or older and have attained at least 25 years of service to receive retirement benefits. 
    Under the revised plan which passed on Jan. 24, though, benefits would be available for anyone who meets either of the two requirements — any teacher or staff member who turns 55 years of age or puts in 25 years of service would be eligible.  Both requirements are no longer necessary under the new proposal.
    “It’s the same wording that’s contained in the current contract, except we changed the ‘and’ to ‘or’ so that teachers can take advantage of the offer if they are either 55 years of age or have 25 years of service to the district, it doesn’t have to be both,” Famularo related.
    Under the revised plan, teachers who choose not to receive health insurance after retirement will also receive a yearly $3,500 buyout for up to 10 years, or for each year until age 65.  No such buyout previously existed.
    These additional benefits are added to the current contract’s provision for employees to receive 9 percent of their final year’s salary each year until they are 65.
    Famularo said the change was proposed as a cost-saving measure, pointing out that there are teachers who have the required years of service but are 54 years of age as opposed to 55.
    “We wanted to make this available to a few more teachers, hopefully have them take advantage of it and then attrition those positions to save money for the school district,” he explained.

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