MASON CITY — The Mason City School Board last night unanimously approved an early retirement incentive program for eligible employees who are at least 55 years of age at the time of retirement and have a minimum of five complete and continuous years of service. The board was given two proposals, with the other being for those who would be 55 years old and had a minimum of 10 complete and continuous years of service.
Board member Jodi Draper says the “55 and 5” plan should only be a one-year offering. “I don’t think it’s something we want to do going forward at five years all the time, but due to COVID process, and maybe we’ll regain some students next year is my hope, that this has been a very unique year, and so I think we have to plan uniquely, I guess it’s the only term I have, to put us in the best situation for next year.”
Draper says without the early retirement package being offered, declining enrollment for this school year and beyond would mean the board would have to look at staffing adjustments to balance the budget. “When I looked at the numbers and our official count and the decrease of students, this gives us our best option for cash flow and for teachers who maybe you would want to retire on the package without them having to make some very difficult decisions.”
124 employees will be eligible for the early retirement incentive, 60 more than would have been eligible if the 10 years of consecutive service plan would have been approved.