Over 100 employees eligible for early retirement program in Mason City Community School District

MASON CITY — Over 100 employees of the Mason City Community School District are eligible for an early retirement incentive program recently approved by the district’s school board.

To be eligible, an employee has to be at least 55 years of age at the time of retirement and have a minimum of five complete and continuous years of service to the district. With enrollment declining in the school district for this year and projected beyond, Superintendent Dave Versteeg says staffing will need to be adjusted to balance the budget.

He says the district can take advantage of the program since it will be used by a different fund than what salaries are paid out of.  “How the district can save funds is the management fund pays for this program, but their salaries come out of the general fund. That’s the good trade off, you are paying it with a different program, a different fund. Thus you save your general fund that expense when that person is not replaced or somebody less experienced or less expensive is hired.”

Board president Lorrie Lala asked Versteeg about the number of people who would be eligible for the program this year.   110 people are eligible for this year’s program, with the board approving 24 applications for a similar program last year.”

Versteeg says the lower salary of any new employees replacing retirees offsets the costs of providing the early retirement incentive.