Retirement meeting timing irks Nevada City teachers |

Retirement meeting timing irks Nevada City teachers

Three retired Nevada City teachers could find out whether their school district will pay nearly $70,000 in incentives for exiting the labor force early — a decision that has implications on all teachers in the district.

The school board’s decision is expected to come as part of a special meeting today, following a contentious Nov. 12 grievance hearing where teachers chided the school district for not paying retirement incentives to several employees.

The president of the teachers’ association has already scolded the school board members and the district’s administration for holding today’s meeting during work hours.

“The Nevada City Faculty Association is dismayed that the board has chosen to schedule the follow-up meeting in the middle of a school day,” wrote Joy Haggart, president of the faculty association, in an email to the school board and administration.

“We will not all be able to attend, as we did for last Tuesday afternoon’s hearing,” Haggart said. “The timing precludes our making any public comments or responses to their decision of our grievance at that time, since we will be in our classrooms teaching.”

Nearly two decades ago, the school district and faculty association negotiated a contract that provides an early retirement incentive to teachers with different tiers, depending on an employee’s age and duration in the district. In theory, the practice allows teachers the opportunity to retire early and, in turn, allows the district to hire teachers at an overall savings.

On Nov. 12, the district’s school board sided with its administration staff, which argued that overall savings would need to be realized in the same year as the teacher’s retirement in order to qualify for the incentive payout, citing the fiscal challenges of public education. The same-year savings criterion was opposed by faculty association members, who argued numerous instances of calculating retiree savings over multiple years constitute a standard practice.

The three retired teachers seek $23,166 each in retirement incentives.

Another part of today’s meeting is the requested total of the salaries, including applicable statutory or negotiated benefits, and the total costs of the replacements of all employees retiring during the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 school years only, which the board requested for today’s meeting.

“Eventually, those documents will be public,” said board president Michael P Hill-Weld.

The school board’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. in the conference room at the district office located at 800 Hoover Lane with a large chunk of the meeting devoted to classroom visitations, unrelated to the retirement incentive issue. An unspecified “team debriefing” is scheduled for 11 a.m., followed by the board meeting behind closed doors with legal counsel to discuss the faculty association’s grievance.

Two grievances have been filed for contract violations, and the California Teachers Association, on NCFA’s behalf, has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the district for an Educational Employment Relations Act violation.

The school board is required to announce any decisions made in closed session.

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

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