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The Telegram
  • 8 apply for Herkimer schools’ retirement incentive

  • While the Herkimer Central School District has exceeded its goal in order to make a retirement incentive package offer a worthwhile savings, the district is not out of the woods yet.

    Interim Superintendent Theodore Kawryga said the district has received eight letters — a minimum of six was necessary by Thursday to make it worthwhile — but there is always the possibility of layoffs.

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  • While the Herkimer Central School District has exceeded its goal in order to make a retirement incentive package offer a worthwhile savings, the district is not out of the woods yet.
    Interim Superintendent Theodore Kawryga said the district has received eight letters — a minimum of six was necessary by Thursday to make it worthwhile — but there is always the possibility of layoffs.
    “It’s hard to tell what the anticipated savings is going to be until we get the numbers,” he said. “All this does is help us where, if it works out, it may cover all of what you have to cut. I don’t know yet.”
    About 15 letters were sent out to those who are eligible, said Kawryga.
    Schools across the Mohawk Valley have offered similar incentives as a way of wrestling budgets with diminished state and federal aid.
    Last year, the Utica City School District offered a retirement incentive, saving about $442,000, business official Maureen Albanese said.
    About 30 employees — teachers, administrators and staff — took the incentive, she said.
    “A lot of the time this happens when push comes to shove,” she said. “At the time, it’s a good practice to try to prevent additional layoffs when you’re faced with not enough funds.”
    Albanese said there were about 150 positions cut last year.
    The incentive is one way the Herkimer school board is trying to close a $1.1 million gap in its budget.
    To be eligible for the $15,000 teacher incentive, Kawryga said they must be employees full-time and at least 55 years old by June 30, have 25 years of service with the state and 15 years at Herkimer.
    Kawryga said he was not sure what the cost savings could be with those who opt for the package, emphasizing each position would have to be looked at individually.
    They would have to look at which employees have applied, then decide whether the position needs to be filled. The savings would depend on the salary necessary for a position that needs to be replaced, Kawryga said.
    “There are a lot of factors in play there,” he said.

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