From Molly Janczyk, June 28, 2010
Subject: RE: SUPERINTENDENTS WHO RETURN TO WORK
I am addressing the persons who 'retire' on a Friday to go back to their same job on Mon with a purposeful intent to milk the system.
From Dave Speas, June 28, 2010
Subject: SUPERINTENDENTS WHO RETURN TO WORK
We just got through interviewing and hiring a new superintendent. We found out that there are 50 districts in Ohio without superintendents and they will have to hire retirees or hope more people want to enter the field. All of the superintendents we interviewed have jobs and I felt wanted to move from problems their districts face. The one person eligible in our district did not want the job because it would be his first superintendent's job and does not feel he is ready for it with all the problems to be faced in the coming years. We hired him as an assistant superintendent with the plan that our new rehire will mentor him so he can become our superintendent. He has taught and been a principal in our district and is highly thought of by us and the citizens.
Our board instructs our administrators to hire the best teachers for the job no matter the years of experience and we pay them their full years of experience and do not limit it to ten years. Our philosophy in this district is to put the very best educator in place for our students. Although I do not support rehires on a general basis, I feel if a rehire is the best person for the district educationally, that is who we should hire. I get tired of the press telling us that we do not do what is best for our students in public education and whether there is or is not an appearance problem, it is our job to give our students and our taxpayers the best educators our money can buy. The educational well-being our our students should be and is our number one criteria when making district decisions.
When the state gets its act together, when we have enough superintendents to go around, when the problems we face do not take an experienced hand to guide us through the pitfalls, and when talented people really want to be leaders of school districts, then the problem will disappear. We have cut 1 million dollars from our budget in the last two years and are facing a 1.6 million deficit by 2012. Even if we pass our levies as renewals, we will still be 1.6 million in the red. This means RIFS, possible closing of buildings, changing and reducing curriculums, going to long distance learning, or passing replacement levies. Any district worth its salt will want an experienced hand at the helm in these circumstances.
It is my opinion that each school district must look at its own needs, measure those who apply, and make the decision that is best educationally and financially for that district. Boards, administrators, and staffs are facing great problems and it is not possible, as with most things, to make a blanket statement that covers every situation in today's educational climate. As those of us who face cancer or other serious medical problems would rather go to a proven surgeon or specialist instead of an inexperienced one, some districts need the guiding hand of a proven educational professional to get the job done. As we rehire physics teachers and other hard to find teaching areas so we can give our students the best education opportunities, the same must be true when evaluating administrative positions for the times in which we live.
50 year educator, taxpayer, retirement fixed income recipient, and public school board member
From Molly Janczyk, June 27, 2010
Subject: FW: SUPERINTENDENTS WHO RETURN TO WORK
I agree completely! To retire on Friday and be rehired for the same position is milking the system. It is NOT like retiring and going out and finding a different type of work or subbing or even coming in at entry level in an education related field. Whether legal or not, cost effective or not, what the Board cannot seem to comprehend is "APPEARANCES ARE EVERYTHING!" It looks bad, and does cost more than hiring new qualified employees that many private companies do to reduce costs. It is NOT the same as military finding employment elsewhere. It is designed to make oodles of money for the rehires which few of us can every attain and most private employees can never attain. Finding ways to milk the system does speak well for educators and does nothing towards helping with legislation-in fact it helps defeat it.
This practice should be voluntarily eliminated BEFORE legislation!!!!
From Dennis Leone, June 27, 2010
Subject: Re: SUPERINTENDENTS WHO RETURN TO WORK
While it is true that retired supts who are rehired can be re-employed at a lower base salary, there still are fundamental problems that many have:
1. First and foremost is the issue that for 30-35 years, the taxpayer has been paying into the educator's retirement system to prepare him/her for retirement after a certain number of years. When STRS was established in 1928, it was NEVER contemplated that a person would, in effect, say: "Thank you for very much, taxpayer, for paying into my retirement system......I am going to access that retirement now, but still require you to keep contributing to my retirement system for a future annuity because I wish to keep working." This never would have been allowed had lawmakers knew originally in 1928 that some would "use" the system to do this.
2. Like teachers, how will we bring "new blood" in the ranks of the supt business if we keep rehiring retirees? The worst part about rehiring retired teachers is that it has caused supts and principals to become lazy and not even consider looking at a new teacher, considering her credentials, interviewing her, etc. It is so much easier to instantly rehire the retired Mrs. Smith to teach 3rd grade. This is destructive to our profession in the long run. How many times will it take a quality first year teacher to be passed over for a retiree before she gives up and says: "That's it, I am leaving education."
3. The local district still must pay an annual 14% contribution to STRS for a rehired retiree, his/her required workers' comp payment, and his/her required Medicare contribution. For a rehired supt who is being paid $100,000, these benefits will cost the school board (and the taxpayers) $16,450 annually
4. STRS will no longer allow a rehired retiree to use the STRS health insurance plan (my motion that was adopted on a split vote in 2008). A family health insurance will cost the school board (and the taxpayer) between $10,000 and $13,500 per year.
I guess I am of the opinion that if a school board disagrees with my #1 and #2 above, then they should make all rehired retirees (except substitute teachers who are retired) pay for the costs associated with #3 and #4 above. My take for what it's worth.
[A retiree] wrote: HELP ME OUT HERE. IS ALL MR. DONATONE SAYS ABOUT STRS AND RETURNING TO WORK FOR A SUPERINTENDENT TRUE???
School officials say Donatone a good deal
ASHTABULA — More Ohio school districts are hiring retired educators, allowing them to earn salaries while collecting their pensions.
On June 21, Ohio’s major daily newspapers ran a story about these re-employed retirees, especially pointing a finger at superintendents who retire and then return to work.
The Star Beacon took a portion of an Associated Press article and used it to write an editorial in the next day’s paper.
Publisher Jim Frustere said the Star Beacon didn’t check its facts before stating an opinion.
“It’s expected that when a newspaper is going to voice an opinion on an issue, it should have all the facts and a clear understanding of the issue,” he said. “We failed to do that in our editorial on June 22. It was not accurate, and we regret that our editorial was misleading.”
Contrary to the June 22 editorial, when it comes to the Ashtabula Area City Schools District, hiring retired Superintendent Joseph Donatone was a good dollars and cents deal for taxpayers and the State Teachers Retirement System, district treasurer William Hill said.
Donatone, as do all other Ohio STRS members, pays 10 percent of his salary to STRS, and the employer pays 14 percent of total teacher payroll, in lieu of paying into Social Security, for a total of 24 percent, said school district treasurer William Hill.
Donatone will get 17 percent at retirement; STRS will keep the other 7 percent, Hill said.
“That’s a good deal for STRS,” Donatone said. “I’m not costing anybody anything.”
Ashtabula school board pays health-care premiums for Donatone only, not a family plan, a cost savings compared to what it mostly likely would have to pay with another superintendent.
Ohio STRS has made adjustments to help ensure that re-employed retirees do not negatively affect the pension fund or the separate health-care fund. These adjustments include no longer providing primary health care coverage to rehired retirees and also making the payout after a second retirement cost neutral to the system. Re-employed retirees and their employers also pay the same amount in contributions as do nonretirees.
Donatone, who makes less than $100,000 a year, said he never has received a raise and never asked for one since coming to Ashtabula.
Donatone retired at 57 from Buckeye Local School District and was nearly 58 before Ashtabula school officials persuaded him to accept the superintendent’s position.
Newspapers also reported Ohio’s school districts are top-heavy in administrative costs. Ashtabula Area City Schools District is the biggest district in Ashtabula County, and yet it’s below the state average in administrators and administrative costs, Hill said.
Donatone said he came to Ashtabula to help the district ease into the new schools and help boost test scores.
Students moved into Lakeside Junior High School last year with great success and lots of fanfare. The new elementary schools will begin opening in fall 2011.
Contrary to the June 22 editorial’s headline, which stated that rehiring retired educators hurts students, Ashtabula’s test scores skyrocketed this year, according to the Ohio Department of Education’s Web site.
The preliminary results are in, and Plymouth Elementary received an “excellent” rating again; State Road Elementary, “excellent”; McKinsey Elementary, “effective”; Thomas Jefferson Elementary, “effective”; Saybrook Elementary, “effective”; Lakeside High, “effective”; Lakeside Intermediate School, “continuous improvement”; and Lakeside Junior High School, “continuous improvement.”
These scores mean that four of the district’s schools improved in 2008-09, Donatone said.