West Platte School District’s Early Separation Incentive Plan-Community Correspondence

Weston, MO February 19, 2013 Press Release: Across the Kansas City Metro and around the state of Missouri, a number of school districts have chosen to offer Early Separation Incentive Plans for eligible employees. In December, the West Platte School District Board of Education joined the list of districts when it voted to offer an Early Separation Incentive Plan (ESIP) for eligible West Platte employees. The ESIP incentive offers a 50% financial incentive for an employee who chooses to participate. The 50% is multiplied times the employee’s base pay to determine the incentive.

The ESIP is a 100% voluntary program. To be eligible to participate, an employee must: 1.Be a certified employee/teacher of the District; 2.Be eligible for retirement under the Missouri Public School Retirement System (under any formula) no later than July 1, 2013; and 3.Have completed 10 years of continuous creditable service with the District as of June 30, 2013.

If an employee meets these three requirements, the employee may choose to voluntarily participate. Employees may choose to retire, or may choose to separate from the District. If an employee chooses not to participate, the employee may continue employment with the District. There is no penalty whatsoever, for an employee who chooses not to participate. Employees who choose to participate will not be eligible for future contractual employment with West Platte. However, participants will be eligible for non-contractual employment, such as substitute teaching in the future. Again, the plan is 100% voluntary, and participation is at the sole discretion of the employee.

The ESIP provides the following benefits to the West Platte School District:

1.The ESIP provides the District the opportunity to restructure staff, which in some cases may include: a. Realignment of staffing to meet new or different state/ national requirements of the District’s instructional program. 2.The ESIP provides early notification of separation, which allows the District additional time to select new staff. In the recent State of the State Address by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and more recently in the State of the Union Address by President Obama, several new educational priorities have been outlined. Those priorities include: expansion of early childhood education, expansion of foreign language, expansion of business incubation and entrepreneurship, and expanded access to technology. In addition, the District intends to realign to other factors, such as the fact that 1 in 12 jobs in the United States is Agriculture related, or the fact that many jobs require fluency in multiple languages. Altogether, these priorities align to the goal of ensuring college and career readiness among all Missouri high school graduates, which is the overarching goal of the State’s new curriculum, the Common Core State Standards.
School districts across the state and nation must align staffing to meet these goals, and West Platte is no exception. The recently-adopted, 100% voluntary, Early Separation Incentive Plan of the West Platte School District provides latitude for the District to align staffing to meet these new expectations. The ESIP also offers a solid financial incentive to employees who have dedicated a decade or more of their career to educating the students of West Platte.

The Period of Eligibility for participation in the program ended at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. In total, 12 staff members, who met eligibility for the program, chose to voluntarily participate. The positions vacated are as follows: three Kindergarten, two First Grade, one Second Grade, one Sixth Grade, Elementary Art, Elementary Computers, Elementary Principal, Junior High School Science, and High School Principal.

Financially speaking, the ESIP program will cost the District $344,000. The District anticipates a number of opportunities in which these funds may be recovered during the restructuring process. The District also expects a number of opportunities to realign staffing next year in a manner that will expand instructional offerings of our program, without increasing overall staff costs. For example, the District may choose to realign a current Elementary position to Early Childhood or may realign that position to Elementary Foreign Language, depending on enrollment numbers and class size. Once staffing and restructuring decisions are made, the District intends to publicly communicate to patrons the final financial impact of the ESIP on District finances.

One of the expectations of the Early Separation Incentive Plan was to offer a lucrative incentive to those employees who have dedicated at minimum ten years and at maximum an entire career of service to the students of the West Platte School District. This plan was expected to be, and was approved by the Board of Education to be, one of the most rewarding plans in the state of Missouri. This expectation was a result of the appreciation the Board shares for the service of District employees to students, past and present. Business discussions aside and on a more personal level, the Board of Education is pleased that this Early Separation Plan was desirable for the 12 faculty members who voluntarily chose to participate. The Board of Education looks forward to joining the West Platte community this Spring in honoring and celebrating the service of these twelve employees to the students of West Platte.

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