Tyrone Area School Board approves retirement plan

Last week, the Tyrone Area School Board approved an early retirement plan involving medical coverage payments for some of its teachers in the district.
The vote was unanimous and the incentive is 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 the 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 also have the option to not participate in the district’s medical insurance and would forfeit the $400 per month upon retirement.
Retirees also agree 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.
“This is something the staff suggested,” said Peachey. “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 is available only for the 2004-05 school year and a minimum of five employees must take part in the plan for the offer to be effective.
Those wanted to take advantage of the incentive will have to submit a final letter of retirement to the TASD’s superintendent’s office by Monday, Feb. 28, 2005 to qualify for the program.
In other action, the school board approved a school calendar for the 2005-06 school year which includes 185 teacher contract days and 179 student days.
The first day of school for students will be Aug. 30, 2005 and the last day of classes is scheduled for June 2, 2006. The district will have three snow make-up days on Feb. 20 and April 13 and 17, 2006.
Regarding upcoming meetings, the board approved the scheduling of a special session for tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss and possibly take action on tax collector compensation.
It also approved a change to its March schedule. The regular meeting originally set for Tuesday, March 8 was moved to Monday, March 7 at 7 p.m. due to a conflict with the annual PASBO conference which is scheduled for March 8-11, 2005. The March work session remains scheduled at its original day and time on March 1 at 7 p.m.