The Marshalltown School Board is giving teachers in the district some extra time to decide if they want to take the voluntary early retirement incentive at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
In a policy approved at the Monday board meeting, the decision date was moved from Dec. 1, 2012 to Jan. 4, 2013 for those thinking of retiring.
"Otherwise, they would just have a couple of weeks here to decide (to retire)," said Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Marvin Wade.
The incentive, which pays for health insurance for several years after retirement, is being discontinued for one year after the next school year. The district is discontinuing the policy due to a strained budget with hopes it could save money as the higher-paid teachers retire now and get the insurance benefit since the future of the policy is uncertain. Even with the cost of insurance, the district saves money by hiring less experienced teachers at a lower salary.
The proposed discontinuation of the policy drew dozens of teachers at the Nov. 5 board meeting, who feared for the future of the benefit beyond the year it was discontinued.
Wade said more than 40 staff members would be eligible to accept early retirement, with the qualification being 55 years of age or older and 15 years of experience in the district. He does not expect that many to accept the incentive and retire, but recognizes there is an impact of losing so many experienced staff members.
"We hate to lose the experience the goes out the door with these staff members, but at the same time it is voluntary," Wade said.
In other board discussion, Associate Superintendent Susan Pecinovsky gave a brief report on college credit courses being offered to district students at Marshalltown High School or through Marshalltown Community College.
"We really do have a nice variety of offerings for our students," Pecinovsky said.
The next regular meeting of the school board is at 5 p.m. Dec. 3 in district offices.