The Decorah Community School Board Interim Board tabled two different issues Wednesday night until the full Board could be present to discuss both matters.
The Interim School Board, which will be in place until the Decorah and North Winneshiek School Districts fully consolidate before the 2019-2020 school year, is made up of four Decorah School Board members and one North Winneshiek Board Member.
Ben Lange, who represents the North Winneshiek District, could not attend the meeting.
The Board had a preliminary discussion about the possibility of offering early retirement, but decided it would make more sense for Lange to be present for further discussion.
Depending on the criteria the District would use to offer early retirement, there could be anywhere between 13 and 21 teachers who may qualify.
Decorah Superintendent Mike Haluska said the combination of state reimbursement for students coming in from North Winneshiek and the possible savings from salaries associated with early retirements could save the District between $700,000 and $750,000 next year.
“The simple reality is we don’t want to lose this experience (of veteran teachers), but there are so few options to make that kind of savings, we have to trust the next generation will be as great as the one it’s replacing,” said Board President Ron Fadness.
Board Member Brian Petersburg said he was “lukewarm” about the idea of early retirement.
“I have a problem with offering them professional development and support up until the time we ask them to leave,” said Petersburg, referring to the fact that whenever early retirement is offered, the District gives up teacher experience to save some money.
The Board tabled the discussion and set another meeting to discuss the matter Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m., in the hope that Lange and North Winneshiek Superintendent Tim Dugger can attend.
Also tabled was the discussion of how the Interim Board might address director terms and potential districts after the consolidation between Decorah and North Winneshiek occurs next summer.
Another matter to be discussed in the near future is the possible purchase of property to house a District bus barn. That discussion will occur in closed session.