Nevada City school board to pay retirees less than sought |

Nevada City school board to pay retirees less than sought

The Nevada City elementary school district will collectively pay three retired teachers nearly $55,000 — close to $15,000 less than those retirees had sought as incentive for leaving the labor force early.

The savings was realized by the district’s recently articulated criteria that retiring faculty must constitute an overall savings to the district’s budget in the same year as exiting the position to qualify for incentives. The school board unanimously approved that one-year limit at its Nov. 19 meeting, though delayed ruling on how much the three teachers would be paid until Tuesday.

“The deliberations and actions we approved tonight are in compliance with that decision,” said board president Michael P. Hill-Weld Tuesday.

While the district’s superintendent, Roxanne Gilpatric, and school board members have noted that the one-year savings criteria is necessary because of the fiscal challenges of public education, members of the district’s faculty association argue that numerous instances of calculating retiree savings over multiple years constitute a standard practice.

“Not only is that a change in practice, it modifies the intent of the collective bargaining agreement between the parties,” said Joy Haggart, president of the faculty association, at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Nevada City teachers are dismayed and discouraged that the superintendent has not honored our collectively bargained agreement, not honored our retirees and the commitment the district made to them, not showed respect for our teachers and not considered the impact her decision will make on the program for our students.”

Debate over retirement incentives stems back to June, Haggart said, with faculty association members irked at the district’s reliance on attorneys through a process they attest would normally be resolved at the bargaining table.

“Instead of paying the early retirees, the superintendent and the school board have chosen to pay thousands of dollars to two attorneys to represent the district against the teachers’ association as we defend, through the grievance process, the violation of our collectively bargained agreement,” Haggart said.

Based on the district’s expenditure report at Tuesday’s meeting, Haggart calculated that the district has paid $15,253.75 to the two attorneys for their October and November work alone — more than the district saved through its Tuesday decision — and not including representation dating back to June.

“(R)eplacing teachers at higher salaries with teachers at lower salaries can have a significant positive impact on a district’s budget,” Haggart said. “If the superintendent and the board won’t honor the early retirement incentive, there will be no incentive for teachers to retire.”

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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