Marshfield School District makes changes to retirement benefits
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – The value of retirement benefits for certain employees in the Marshfield School District is dropping. With Frances Bohon and Dorothy Chaney absent, the Board of Education voted 5-0 last night in favor of a revised version of the district’s retirement benefit plan – which covers those teachers hired before July 1, 2012.
“We are still working on benefit language for professional staff that are hired after that day,” Marshfield School Superintendent Dr. Ryan Christianson.
“The intent and hope at this time is that they have a proposal for that group finalized in time for when those full employee handbook updates come through the board, so that could be approved at that time, then placed in the handbook with the language you see on the agenda right now.”
The plan spells out how much in retirement benefits certain teachers are going to get, based on their years of service. This is a prorated plan, meaning those who retire in the next two years will receive higher benefits than those who retire after 2023, and the value of benefits drops every two years after that.
Board member and retired Marshfield teacher Dale Yakaites voted for the plan, stating it was a hard move but the right one for the financial future of the district.
“There is going to be a change,” he said. “There will be, I hate to use the words ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ when you get to a policy like this, but certainly there will be some impact on various individuals; which was one of the reasons that this was staged not to be put into effect immediately last year when all of the hubbub came about, or even now there is a grace period involved.
“I think it was just something that had to be done overall for the benefit of the school district in terms of unfunded mandates and liabilities in the future financially for the school district. Tough decisions, very tough decisions.”
For employees who retire before July 1, 2021, $15,000 will be given for each year until Medicare eligible – an employee who turns 55 during the year they retire would be eligible for up to $15,000 for 10 years, for a maximum benefit of $150,000. Depending on the ages of the retiring the employees and their years of service, their benefits will vary accordingly. For those who retire between 2021-2023, the highest-possible benefit from the district would be $125,000.
An employee electing retirement under the new plan forfeits all full-time re-employment rights with the district.
The new plan goes into effect July 1.