EARLY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM SUMMARY
Columbus Public School District
The purpose of this program is to encourage Eligible Employees who are considering an early-separation decision to accelerate their retirement plans. Objectives include, but are not limited to, the following:
1) To offer financial incentives which will assist long-term employees considering early retirement or early-separation decisions.
2) To reduce costs to the School District by replacing maximum salaried employees with lesser salaried employees.
3) To provide a better balance of employee experience.
To be a participant a person must be employed by the School District as of the date of acceptance of the person’s application in the position of a fully certified employee (a) covered by the negotiated agreement between the Columbus Education Association and the Columbus Public School District or commonly referred to as the “Teacher”, “employee”, or “eligible employee”, or under contract as a Principal or Administrator sometimes referred to as “Eligible Employee, or “Employee” or “Administrator.”
An Eligible Employee, both full-time and part-time, may participate in the Early Retirement Incentive Program (“ERIP), provided that the part-time Employee’s benefits under such a plan shall be prorated based on their Full Time Equivalency (“FTE); said FTE to be determined based on the Employee’s actual scheduled salary as of December 1 of the Employee’s final contract year. A part time Employee who is on a leave of absence in part and work part-time, as of December 1 of the Employee’s final contract year shall be eligible to participate in this ERIP to the extent of their on-duty FTE. Employees who are on a sabbatical leave, leave of absence, or other board approved leave as of December 1 of the Employee’s final contract year shall not be eligible to participate in this ERIP.
In order to be eligible to participate in the Early Retirement Incentive Program (“ERIP”), those identified as eligible participants must have had twenty-five (25) years of continuous service to the Columbus Public Schools as a certificated employee through the employee’s last year of service. Board approved military service, leave without pay, or any other leave required to be granted according to the law shall not be included as credited years of service, but such events shall not disrupt continuous employment for purposes of this paragraph.
To determine eligibility, the number of years of credited service to the District shall be equal to the number of years of credited service as used by the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System in the calculation of retirement benefits.
Window of Eligibility:
There shall be a period of eligibility, hereinafter referred to as a “window”, when an Employee may elect to participate in this ERIP. The window shall open on September 1 of the calendar year when:
(1) The Eligible Employee reaches fifty-four (54) years of age and is eligible to receive unreduced benefits from the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System (“NPERS”) by virtue of age and years of creditable service in that system, and shall close on the second August 31 thereafter;
(2) The Eligible Employee who is fifty-four (54) years of age or more is first eligible to receive unreduced benefits from the NPERS by virtue of age and years of creditable service in that system, and shall close on the second August 31 thereafter.
Acceptance or Rejection of Application:
The Board of Education of the School District, in its’ sole and absolute discretion, reserves the right to accept or reject any or all applications based on financial exigencies, availability of funds, budget, expenses, revenue, and other school finance issues.
Criteria for Selection: If there is more than one applicant for participation in this ERIP, the selection of the Eligible Employee(s) allowed to participate in the ERIP shall be based upon the following criteria in descending order:
(1) Years of service to the District (ranked highest to the lowest);
(2) Placement on the District’s Salary Schedule (ranked highest to lowest);
(3) Date of Hire with the District (ranked earliest date of hire to most recent);
(4) Tie Breaker: If two (2) or more individuals tie on Criteria 1, 2, and 3, the names of those persons who are tied shall be placed in a container and names will be drawn from the container for each opening in the ERIP.
1) Resignation: Using the attached form, eligible employee participants in the program shall resign their positions with the School District effective at the close of the school year in which the application for participation in this ERIP is received, and thereby relinquish the Employee’s actual and existing continuing contract rights in consideration for the benefits outlined in paragraph entitled “Benefits.”
2) Notice of Plan and Future Employment: The Superintendent or Superintendent’s designee shall notify all Teachers and Administrators of the School District of the adoption of this Early Retirement Incentive Policy (ERIP) and the attendant ERIP Application and Agreement on or before January 1 each year; a copy of said ERIP Application and Agreement as it now exists, or as it may be from time to time amended, may be obtained from the school office of each school in the District.
3) Application and Agreement: Any Eligible Employee who attains the minimum eligibility requirements shall be eligible to participate in the ERIP. Each qualified Eligible Employee who wishes to participate must submit an Application and Agreement form properly executed, which is to be received in the Business Office on or before January 15. An Application and Agreement may be withdrawn by the Employee at any time within seven (7) days following the date when it was received by the Business Office. The Superintendent or his designee shall review the Eligible Employee’s record to determine eligibility. If eligible, the Board of Education shall approve the Application and Agreement, except as may be otherwise provided herein, at the regular March meeting of the Board of Education immediately following the receipt of the Eligible Employee’s Application and Agreement, or at such later time as deemed appropriate. FAILURE TO SUBMIT THE APPLICATION AND AGREEMENT WITHIN THE TIME FRAME SPECIFIED IN THE PARAGRAPH SHALL RESULT IN THE REJECTION OF SUCH APPLICATION AND AGREEMENT.
4) Terminated Employee’s Ineligibility: An employee who has received written notice of possible termination for reasons other than reduction in force, or who has received written notice of possible cancellation shall NOT be eligible and may NOT participate in this program, UNLESS after a hearing before the Board of Education it is determined that said Employee’s contract shall not be cancelled or terminated, or the decision of the Board of Education to terminate or cancel is subsequently set aside.
An employee who has received written notice of possible termination for reasons of a reduction in force shall be eligible and may participate in this program if , but only if, said Employee expressly waives all rights to which he or she may be entitled under the reduction in force law.
Schedule of Benefits:
A qualified employee requesting inclusion in the ERIP shall receive a benefit equal to a percentage of the scheduled salary earned by the employee during that employee's last contract year. Scheduled salary refers to salary paid from the salary schedule, which excludes salary paid for extra duty, extended contract, fringe benefits.
The formula to be used to determine benefits under this program will be: Two percent (2.00%) of the employees' salary for the last year of service multiplied by the number of years of credited service. The employee will also receive thirty ($30) dollars for each day of unused sick leave up to a maximum of seventy (70). No extra duty or extended contract pay will be calculated into this formula. For example.... if the employee has twenty-five (25) years of credited service and is at the MA plus twenty seven (27) step on the present salary schedule at the time the request is accepted, and the corresponding salary is $52,507, the amount is computed by multiplying $52,507 times 2.00% times 25 years for a total benefit of $26,254; plus $30 dollars for any unused sick days (maximum of seventy (70); payable in installments as hereinafter provided.
Refer to Regulation 408.06R1 for the early retirement incentive payment
Special Pay Plan:
The Columbus Public Schools participates in a non-elective 403(b) plan. Those benefits paid to eligible employees under this policy shall be deposited into a special pay plan designed to handle special forms of compensation in a tax-advantaged manner.
Pursuant to COBRA, a retired employee will have the opportunity to continue participation in the School District's group health insurance plan for at least eighteen (18) months following retirement upon payment by the employee of the monthly insurance premiums.
The District's carrier will allow retirees to continue benefit coverage at their cost through age 70. Increased coverage cannot be purchased.
Long-Term Disability Insurance:
The District's carrier will not continue providing coverage past the date of retirement.
Source of Funds for Payment of Benefits:
Columbus Public Schools shall pay the entire cost of the Early Retirement
In order for the application to be considered complete, a beneficiary must be designated. Upon death of the employee before all benefits are paid, the beneficiary may choose to receive the remaining benefits as scheduled each year, or may opt to take the remaining funds in one lump sum on the next designated date.
Duration of Policy:
The Columbus Public School District’s ERIP shall be offered only to Eligible Employees as defined herein, and who timely submit an ERIP Application and Agreement.
Waiver and Release of Claims:
The ERIP Application and Agreement shall also include a specific Waiver and Release of Claims of the participant’s rights under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA) 29 U.S.C. 621-63 and the Act Prohibiting Unjust Discrimination in Employment Because of Age, Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-1001 et seq., the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ( ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 51001 et seq. and all other state and federal constitutions, statutes and regulations that relate to the validity of the ERIP, and allow the Employee to revoke the Release or Waiver at any time within seven (7) days after signing the contract, and advise the Employee to consult with an attorney before signing the Application and Agreement. THE SPECIFIC TERMS OF THE WAIVER AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS SHALL BE AS FOLLOWS:
WAIVER AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS: By entering into this Agreement the Eligible Employee hereby releases, waives, acquits, and forever discharges the School District, all past, present, and future members of the Board of Education of such School District in their official and individual capacities, the Administrators, and all other officers, and employees of the School District in their official and individual capacities, from any and all claims, however characterized, whether for damages, costs, expenses, compensation, penalties, wages, benefits, reinstatement, or attorneys’ fees under 42 U.S.C. 1988, or the like, which Eligible Employee may now have or which may accrue in the future with respect to, arising out of, or in relation to the Eligible Employee’s employment with the School District including, but not limited to, claims or rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act (OWBPA), 29 U.S.C. 621-634, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., and the Act Prohibiting Unjust Discrimination in Employment on the Basis of Age, Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-1001 et seq., Title IX and under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and 1871, as amended from time to time, claims or rights under 42 U.S.C. 1981, through and including 42 U.S.C. 1988, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, all claims or rights relating to discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic background, color, religion, sex, age, disability, handicap, marital status or natural origin before the state or federal EEOC or NEOC, or any other agency or department or the state or federal courts under any state or federal constitution, law, rule, or regulation, all claims or rights relating to libel, slander, breach of confidentiality or privacy, or any claims or rights of whatsoever nature arising under any other state, federal, or local constitution, statute, regulation, or ordinance arising out of the Eligible Employee’s employment with the School District, this Application and Agreement, the ERIP, or The Eligible Employee’s resignation from such employment. The Eligible Employee further covenants not to sue and hereby agrees not to institute any proceedings against, and agrees to indemnify and hold harmless, the School District or any other persons named herein in their official or individual capacities based on any matter relating to the Eligible Employee’s employment at the School District, this Application and Agreement, the ERIP, or Eligible Employee’s resignation.
This waiver, release, covenant not to sue, and indemnification agreement is given in exchange for consideration in addition to that which the Eligible Employee is already entitled to pursuant to law. The Eligible Employee acknowledges that the Eligible Employee has been advised by this Application and Agreement and in writing to consult with an attorney before entering into the ERIP or signing this Application and Agreement. The Eligible Employee further acknowledges that the Eligible Employee has had sufficient time to decide whether or not to execute this ERIP Application and Agreement, including sufficient time to consider the waiver and release of claims and all other matters contained herein.
Policy COLUMBUS PUBIC SCHOOLS
Adopted: 8/13/07 Columbus, Nebraska
Revised: 2/25/08 Reviewed: 1/21/13