By JEROD CLAPP
Employees thinking about retiring from Greater Clark County Schools may have an offer they can’t refuse after the board of trustees approved a retirement incentive program.
Teachers, administrators and other staff can qualify for a $10,000 or $20,000 tax-sheltered annuity if they qualify for retirement and the program and submit their intent to retire by March 1, 2013.
Sandra Lewis, the district’s legal counsel, said 40 certified personnel — teachers and school administrators — and 15 classified directors, administrators or executive assistants can apply for the benefits. She said no staffing decisions following those retirements have been made.
“We’re excited, we think it’s a good thing,” Lewis said. “We think it’s going to give some recognition and thanks for those persons who have worked for Greater Clark the longest and are ready to put themselves in a retirement mode.”
The money the district will use for the incentive will come from an account it has to use for retirement-related expenses. But Lewis said if more employees in each group apply for the benefit than they’ve allotted, they’ll decide on the benefits paid by the seniority those employees have with Greater Clark. Years served with other school corporations will not be considered in determining the benefits.
But Lewis said the incentive isn’t an early retirement program. She said though employees who don’t qualify for retirement this year won’t get the annuity offered this year, they’ll still get the regular retirement benefits offered by the district and the state.
The board approved the measure unanimously.
Also, the board approved a withdrawal from the Clark County Commissioners to purchase the old Corden Porter building at 601 E. Court Avenue in Jeffersonville. The Commissioners were initially approved to purchase the building in March, but asked to delay the payments on the building in June.
Lewis said superintendent Andrew Melin saw potential in the site for other programs in the district and asked the commissioners to reconsider the purchase.
The board approved the measure unanimously Tuesday.
The board also approved advertising on a digital billboard on Interstate 65 near Eastern Boulevard.
The contract with CBS Outdoor costs $6,600 and will last 12 weeks. Melin said the board would give the district an opportunity to put out a positive message about its schools with eight different messages.
“I guess tonight, we believe that as we’re trying hard as we look at our strategic plan ... community perception is a major area that we need to focus on,” Melin said. “Anything we can do with reasonable financial commitment to promote the positive, we think we could more than get our money’s worth out of that scenario.”
He said the board could also see if the Greater Clark Education Foundation wanted to use and financially support the advertisements on the board.
But Nancy Kraft, board member, said she was concerned because she didn’t think the company that owns the billboard had all the proper approvals from the city.
“I think we’re a little premature with this,” Kraft said. “I’ve investigated it fairly thoroughly, and there hasn’t been a variance filed. So whoever has this [advertising] board, doesn’t have permission from the town to operate it.”
The board voted to approve the contract contingent upon CBS Outdoors receiving all the proper approvals from the city with a 6-1 vote, with Becka Christensen opposing.
The purchase of wireless access points was also unanimously approved by the board. The access points will serve the elementary schools in the district and cost $300,495.51, paid by the Common School Loan.
The board also approved a building project for a Tennis Shelter at Jeffersonville High School.
The $48,700 contract was awarded to Dupont Properties to complete the project started by the Jeffersonville High School Boosters. The boosters program will help pay for the project — $9,000 a year.