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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 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 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.

Dave Smith September 17, 2011 at 09:07 PM
What makes you think that retirees with a vast amount of experience and expertise would come back at an entry level salary ? Is paying an individual a salary for services rendered double dipping ?I don't think so. Dave Smith
Lyle Ruble September 17, 2011 at 09:45 PM
This is done in private business all the time. A key employee retires and the company places him or her under contract as a special consultant. This is transitional and should be treated as such.
the 'sha guy September 17, 2011 at 11:14 PM
@Lyle, You are correct. The employees are brought back under contract as a special consultants. They generally put in a few hours a month and get paid a fraction of what they were making before they retired, hence the word "retirement."
Jacob Clemens September 20, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Bargain basement education? What a joke. Even with the cut backs we are still paying for a BMW and getting a Pinto. More money does not equal better educated students. Never has. MPS pays the most per student of any district in the state and they have the lowest reading, writing and maths scores along with the lowest graduation rate. The big problem here is the double dip. It is not the same as a key person in the corporate world. There they are not receiving taxpayer subsided salary and health benefits for being retired "AND" receiving their normal salary for working. This whole article is just a big smoke screen to cover for the crony deals cut between cry baby teachers and the district. Why would the district administration care anyway it is always easier when you are spending someone else's money.
Kate Kind September 22, 2011 at 06:05 PM
@Jacob: Comparing MPS to Waukesha is comparing Apples to Oranges. The test scores are also a reflection of the parental involvement, socio-economic status and overall health of a child. Such generalization towards education is NOT fair. My kids have EXCELLENT teachers and despite having a son with Autism, he is thriving because I reinforce what he learns at school when he gets home and I ensure he eats healthy and sees a doctor regularly. You seem to like to "bitch" about cronyism and how teachers are not qualified for dignity in the work place because their salary is paid by tax dollars. FYI: they pay taxes too AND slavery was done away with during Lincoln's administration. Why in our current society does an individual who is REQUIRED to get advanced education to maintain a license and is then in turn treated like a second class citizen just because they happen to be a public servant? You want to lay the blame for your woes, go to Wall Street or your local bank and bitch at them!! Leave my kids teachers alone!!! Maybe some more education on your part would be beneficial, or at least a dose of common sense and compassion. In the long run it is our kids and their futures that will suffer due to cuts to education and healthcare in order to pay for Corporate welfare! Let the Corporations make "cuts" in govt subsidy, where is the "outrage" towards that assault on taxpayer $'s?????

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