Board OKs retirement plan
Jeremy Nash
Loudon County Board of Education members voted unanimously Thursday to bring back the teacher retirement incentive.

The program ended last April due to the number of teachers retiring.

The board initially considered offering the incentive this year on a sliding scale regardless of years experience, and following years would only be for teachers reaching 30 years and 35 years. Board member Leroy Tate made the motion, while Vice Chairman Scott Newman seconded. Board member Craig Simon was absent.
The incentive, which aims to encourage eligible teachers to retire earlier than the average retirement age, offers 25 percent of their most recent annual salary on their 30th year of credit service as defined by the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.
During the workshop last week, Chairman Ric Best suggested adding a 35-year incentive to encourage teachers who missed the 30-year deadline to take retirement. The proposed 35-year incentive was at 15 percent.
“I think obviously we’ve seen over the past few years this has wound up saving us quite a bit of money. It’s helped us make our budgets for several years, and it’s been a benefit to the school system,” Jeremy Buckles, board member, said. “... If they’re in there until 32 or 33 years, I think having a 35-year section there actually encourages them to stay on a couple more years until they retire. At that point, we’re definitely losing money with that and I just don’t think that is a very good thing to have in there.”
Board member Gary Ubben agreed with Buckles, saying the second window would actually encourage teachers to stay employed longer.
“I think we’re better off just eliminating that, the 35-year 15 percent, leave it at 30-year 25 (percent),” Ubben said. “We’re saying that’s your only opportunity to retire early and get a bonus.
“Anytime if you pass that window and get beyond that, there’s no bonus available to you,” he said. “That’s your only option for one. That would be the greatest encouragement to get people to retire then and then after that they would miss that opportunity.”
Tate originally motioned to approve the teacher retirement incentive the way Director of Schools Jason Vance presented it to the board, but eventually rescinded his motion and motioned to vote in a program that would only allow teachers to receive the incentive at 30 years after 2015.
In other news, the board:
  • Approved with a 9-0 vote to provide $8,000 to finish the restroom facility outside Philadelphia Elementary School. Newman motioned, and Tate seconded.
  • Voted 9-0 in favor of approving funds for the football program at Fort Loudoun Middle and Philadelphia Elementary schools. Tate motioned, and Newman seconded.
  • Voted 9-0 in favor of allocating $1,500 for the baseball programs at Greenback and Fort Loudoun Middle schools. Newman motioned, and Tate seconded.
  • Approved 8-1 in favor of the director evaluation instrument with the modification of a comment section for board members to give Vance. Tate motioned, and board member Bobby Johnson Jr. seconded. Newman opposed.
  • Voted 7-2 in favor of approving budgets 141, 142 and 143 as mentioned in last week’s workshop. Tate motioned, and Ubben seconded. Newman and board member Kenny Ridings opposed.