Superintendent expects MCC teachers will take early retirement option

October 30, 2013

mcc schoolsSCOTTVILLE — Mason County Central Schools Superintendent Jeff Mount said he expects there will be teachers who take up the board of education’s early retirement incentive. Last Wednesday the board of education met in special session and took action to offer the incentive. That decision came in the wake of a Monday decision to eliminate two teaching positions.

The school is down 48 students compared to the 2012-2013 school year, causing a loss of over $300,000 (see related story here).

By law, the district must balance its budget. Mount said the board of education met in September and he gave them three different options: 3% reduction of pay for all employees; early retirement incentive and faculty reduction. The board rejected the first two options but took no action during that meeting.

Between the board’s regular meetings, Mount met with the school’s other administrators and they started evaluating class sizes. The conclusion was that the areas with the smallest enrollment were in secondary level math and science classes, with some classrooms only having 14 or 15 students in a class. They would need to eliminate two positions. After that choice was made, the difficult choice was to decide who would lose their jobs.

Through unfortunate circumstances, the first choice was made following the death of seventh grade science teacher Sherryl Martin. This left one person.

The administration team reviewed each math and science teacher’s records and used a standardized rubric provided by the state. The conclusion was 18-year veteran teacher Jack Stibitz.

“It’s never easy to layoff an employee,” Mount said. “Eighty-five percent of our budget is people, our staff. The only way to get to a number is to reduce salaries and that means people a face to the cut.”

Mount said Monday’s decision to reduce staff was not about who would be cut but rather about balancing a budget.

“It’s never easy when you actually have to name the person.”

He said he had a choice to keep the decision of who would be laid off a secret, but he promised the leadership of the MCC Educational Association that he would let the person know.

“I owed it to Mr. Stibitz to let him know,” Mount said. “He handled this situation with nothing but professionalism. I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with that.”

Mount said now that the board has offered an early retirement incentive, he anticipates two to three teachers will step forward to accept the offer.

The offer is as follows: 10 years with MCC, $12,000 per year for three years if they take the offer by Nov. 13 or $8,000 per year for three years by Dec. 6.

But, even if the two or three people step forward they still need to be the right people, Mount said.

“I still have to build a schedule around the needs of the students,” he said. “The teachers need to be certified in the right areas in order to make this work. There are no guarantees here until December 6.”

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