Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Last week, the Tyrone Areas School Board accepted the early retirement requests of several staff members.
The move came on the heels of the February approval of an early retirement plan involving medical coverage payments for some of its teachers in the district.
The incentive was open to teachers who are at least 55 and have 25 years of service with the Public School Employees Retirement System, 15 of which must be with the Tyrone Area School District.
Business Administrator Cathy Peachey said the incentive is different than ones offered in the past. The district has traditionally offered a lump sum of money to certain retirees.
Peachey said the last time teachers were offered an incentive was in the 2002-03 school year, the lump sum amounted to $15,000. She said at least five teachers took advantage of that incentive .
Under the new program, Tyrone Area will pay up to $400 per month towards individual medical insurance coverage for a five-year period effective Sept. 1, 2005 through Aug. 31, 2010 or until the retiree is eligible for Medicare benefits whichever occurs first.
If the cost of individual medical insurance is less than $400, the district will only pay up to the cost of individual medical coverage. On the other hand, if the individual premium rate is more than $400 per month the retiree is responsible for the difference above $400.
According to information released by the district, the retiree cannot be covered or be eligible to be covered under another medical insurance plan.
Retirees have the option to not participate in the district’s medical insurance and would forfeit the $400 per month upon retirement.
Those who decided to participate agreed to pay the district the reimbursement amount received from PSERS for medical insurance premiums. Currently, that figure is $100 per month.
The incentive will also allow a retiree the right to purchase increased medical coverage beyond the individual plan at the retiree’s expense.
After the school board’s vote last month, Peachey said, “This is something the staff suggested.”
“They said they would like to see something of this nature. They wanted some type of coverage.”
Peachey said the cost of medical insurance coverage for retirees has become a growing concern.
The incentive was available only for the 2004-05 school year and a minimum of five employees had to take part in the plan for the offer to be effective. In all, six staff members chose to participate in the incentive.
A final letter of retirement was required to be submitted to the district’s superintendent’s office by the end of February to take advantage of the incentive.
Last week, the school board approved a motion accepting the early retirement requests of the following staff members: Daniel C. Albright, high school science teacher; Juliet J. Arnold, elementary Title 1 reading specialist; Catherine M. Hoover, elementary teacher, grade 4; Patricia E. Hovan, middle school math teacher; Thomas L. Miller, K-12 physical education teacher and Charles F. Wolf, high school teacher.

By Rick