18 Newton School Administrators and Teachers Accept Early Retirement Offer

At the end of this school year three administrators and 15 teachers in the Newton School District will be taking early retirement. Combined….the 18 employees have spent 523 years working for the school district, and have 640 years of experience in education. The list of voluntary early retiree’s was approved by the Newton School Board last (Monday) night.

That’s Newton School Board President Robyn Friedman. All four school Board members at last (Monday) night’s meeting approved the list. Berg Middle School Principal Lisa Sharp, Aurora Heights Principal Jim Gilbert, and Newton High School Assistant Principal Dave Kalkhoff are the administrators taking early retirement. Sharp’s career in education has spanned 36 years, with the last 21 in Newton. Gilbert has spent the last 19 of his 41 years in education in Newton. Kalkhoff’s educational career has spanned 38 years, 22 in Newton. Of the 15 teachers taking advantage of the District’s early retirement offer, 5 are at Berg Middle School; 5 work at Newton High School; 2 teach at Thomas Jefferson Elementary; and there’s one teacher each at Aurora Heights…Emerson Hough…and Woodrow Wilson Elementaries. The Berg retirees are Special Education teacher Jody Barr, 6th grade teacher Andy Cazett, Art teacher Darren Hurt, Health teacher Lorraine Kalkhoff, and 5th grade teacher Mark Law. Teachers retiring from the High School are Special Education teacher Ed Ergenbright, Foreign Language teacher Alison Grier, LMC teacher Ann Nelson, FCS teacher Cheryl O’Roake, and Math teacher Deborah Rose. Kindergarten teacher Marla Cory and Title One teacher Julie Francisco are leaving Thomas Jefferson Elementary. Aurora Heights 4th Grade teacher Susan Sheeks is taking early retirement, as are Emerson Hough 1st Grade teacher Mary Bartels and Woodrow Wilson Title One teacher Tamara Parriott. The Newton School Board unanimously voted in late October to offer a 50-thousand dollar early retirement plan to up to 20 licensed teachers and administrators. Friedman says early retirement incentives are a budget tool to reduce or replace staff at a lower operating cost to the General Fund.

The administrators and teachers who wanted to take advantage of the early retirement incentive had to notify the district by the end of November. There were 39 employees who meet the requirements for early retirement.  Those requirements were being above 55 years old with at least 15 years of continuous service to the district. Superintendent Tom Messinger said the district did have a plan to determine who would be awarded early retirement, if more than 20 employees requested it.

Tim Bloom, the school district’s Director of Business Services, says the retirees could elect to remain on the district insurance plan at their own cost. That would cost them about 50-thousand dollars for 5 years of coverage at the current insurance rates.