School District Only Rehires Retirees When Necessary
In response to recent media reports about rehiring retirees, superintendent tells school board they aren't rehiring many and only when necessary.
The Waukesha School District has hired some retirees back but only in necessary situations and, in many cases, the rehires could end-up saving the district money in benefits and with efficiencies, according to Superintendent Todd Gray.
Wednesday night, the Waukesha School Board approved the resignations of five teachers, the hiring of 22 full-time teachers or staff members, the part-time rehiring of four staff members who had retired and 17 part-time contracts with teachers or staff members.
The record number of people retiring at the end of last year put the district in “dire straits” for some specialized programs, however the amount of rehires is small, although it may be more than in past year, according to Gray.
“We’ve not made a practice of hiring retirees,” Gray said.
One area where the district has hired back a retiree is in the area of tech education where it’s hard to find qualified teachers, Gray said.
“We have one university in the state that turns out tech ed teachers. There is a definite demand for them,” Gray told school board members.
Gray said the district actually had signed contracts with two people for a tech ed position but who ended up taking jobs with other districts.
Special education, which requires advanced degrees, and math are other areas where retirees were rehired, Gray said. Also, one of the rehires was for iQ Academy, for writing curriculum as the district switches from an outside company providing services for the online school to the district handling the program, slated for next year.
“There are some positions that are hard to fill,” Gray said, adding that it’s hard to find the particular expertise the district needs for those positions.
Besides meeting an academic or staffing demand, there’s an upside to rehiring the retirees. In many cases, it saves the district money.
Two part-time administrators were hired back. Assistant Superintendent Jim Haessly was hired for a “minimal amount of time” to work on transportation plans and ended up finding efficiencies for the district.
Recent-retired Assistant Superintendent Jack Bothwell, Human Resources, is monitoring 1,700 biometric screenings as part of the district’s wellness plan, which is saving the district a lot of money, according to Gray.
Also, Michael Sukawaty, principal at Heyer Elementary School, was rehired this year on a temporary basis, Gray said. Next year, the district will have one less elementary school and therefore will need one less principal.