Public education is too important of an asset for children and the community to see its vitality being strangled by high personnel costs. Having enlightened educators and a out-of-touch with economic reality school board. The Rhinelander School District opted to go with 15 years of work and retirement at the age of 55. With an expensive benefit package and high pension payout. I am probably missing something but I keep wondering what is in a benefit package that costs $34,000 per year for an employee. Most private sector pensioners and those collecting Social Security benefits pay a penalty in benefits received if their earnings go over a set amount before the age of 65. I haven’t heard of any penalties for school district employees retiring before the age of 65 and then getting a new high paying job. Retirees collecting Social Security benefits, the average payment for all workers being $1,261 per month. Also pay $104 per month for medical coverage. Plus they are responsible for 20 percent of most billings being paid for by Medicare. If they want drug coverage they pay extra. Also to even receive medicare benefits which private sector workers have been paying taxes to support since its start. Private sector workers must be either 65 years of age or retired on disability. It is time for the school board to tell the local taxpayers, What is each early retirement costing? What do benefits packages consist of? What is the cost of each benefit in the benefits package received by district employees? It is a far better deal for children and young adults in the district to be using taxpayers’ dollars to upgrade and buy newer technology for the classrooms. To be able to pay newer and younger teachers decent wages. Putting the school district on a pay for performance system. To constantly upgrade the education experience. Rather than squander the money paying for retirements with benefits at the age of 55 or any before the age of 65. Members of the education system are respected and necessary members of any community. But their funding acts like a credit card filled with taxpayers dollars with a dollar limit on spending. If the wages continue to be higher than average, coupled with extravagant benefit packages, the realy retirements will eventually cause a maxing out of the credit limit with a severe contraction of the quality of education in the Rhinelander area.
Robert Fredrickson, Rhinelander