One superintendent thinks that a way to address the shortage of teachers is to change the rules of retirement:
“As 38 percent of the USD 418 certified staff and 53 percent of administrative staff becomes eligible for retirement in the next five years, according to Superintendent Randy Watson, the district faces the challenge of finding enough new teachers fast enough to fill the need.
Ironically, Watson said the best, most-qualified source to fill those positions are those who are retiring. But many retirees are deterred from re-entering the education field because of laws governing the state’s retirement system KPERS.”
“The biggest pool of candidates the state has to offset the shortage, we’re turning our back to because we don’t want them to double-dip,” Watson said.
“The penalty currently if someone takes retirement into KPERS, which for the majority of people is around the age of 54 or 55, and they decide to move to another school district, that district is penalized 15.47 percent each year,” Watson said. “If that person decided to stay in the district where they retired, they are limited to earning $20,000 a year.”
Watson and other officials propose a plan that allows teachers who collect a pension to keep teaching without such a financial penalty. In brief, a teacher can work, receive a pension, and pay 12 percent (6 percent employee, 6 percent employer) into KPERS. The teacher does not get any of that money back.
(Superintendent Watson testifies on KPERS issue, McPherson Sentinel, July 26)