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N-K board offers early retirement program

The Northwood Anchor of Northwood, Iowa

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The Northwood-Kensett School District will once again offer an early retirement incentive to its staff, with the ultimate goal of saving the district money.

Other school districts, in recent weeks, have made news as they introduced early retirement programs as part of large cuts being made as state aid for education came in lower than expected.

Fortunately, N-K is not in as dire straits as many other districts. At N-K the early retirement program has been offered every few years as a cost-savings measure, with the district saving the costs of the salaries of long-serving teachers as new teachers are hired at lower salaries.

To be eligible for the program, a teacher must be 55 or older and must have worked for 15 consecutive years for the district. They also must be considered a full time employee.

When approving the program for this year, the N-K Board of Education approved allowing up to four staff members to take advantage of the early retirement incentive this year. If more than four apply, seniority will be the deciding factor for who will receive the early retirement incentive.

Staff members taking part in the program will receive $25,000 as an early retirement incentive.

The deadline for staff members to apply is December 21. That will allow the district time to seek out new staff members to replace them.

In addition to replacing any staff members retiring, the district will also be seeking to hire two new staff members to replace existing teachers that will take on new roles as a part of a program that provides mentor and leadership to new and existing staff members.

Also discussed at recent meetings of the N-K School Board was a series of changes to the district's policies in regards to upcoming state-mandating summer school offerings.

Starting in May of 2017, students will likely have to be reading at a level that is considered acceptable, or not pass beyond the third grade.

Iowa school districts are being required to offer a number of ways to help students reach that benchmark to avoid being held back. One of those ways is an intensive summer reading program.

Beginning with the summer of 2017, Iowa districts will be required to make available a summer school program for students with a "reading deficiency."

Students who are not meeting reading benchmarks may be retained in the third grade if they do not take part in the summer program.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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