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Niles school board offers retirement incentive

NILES — The Niles Board of Education has approved retirement incentives for members of both of the district’s unions.

Members of the Niles Education Association who are eligible for retirement and notify the district by Oct. 1 of their intent to retire this fiscal year will receive a one-time lump sum of $8,000. Members who notify the board between Oct. 2 and Dec. 1 will receive $6,000 and those who do so between Dec. 2 and March 1 will receive $4,000.

For the same dates, the district’s Ohio Association of Public School Employees members are offered $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively if they notify the board of their intent to retire this fiscal year.

District treasurer Rhonda Amorganos said when an employee takes a retirement incentive, the district is able to assess that position to see if it still is needed.

“Our ultimate goal is to try to capture some attrition savings,” Amorganos said.

She said she could not give an exact number of eligible employees because some may have years of employment in another district, but she believes four teachers and three OAPSE staff members could benefit from the incentive.

The board also approved wage reopeners for the unions. Members of both will remain at their 2019-20 pay for the next two years, with continued experience step advancement on the salary schedule and educational attainment step advancement for teachers.

Employees also will get a “match” in their employee-funded flexible spending account up to $150 for the 2021 and 2022 contract years.

“The board felt that they could do that because that money will not come out of the general fund. It’s going to come out of the health insurance budget reserve,” Amorganos said.

In other business at its recent meeting, the board approved a restart plan, available to families in the form of a video on the district’s website.

“Even though this is a more concrete plan, it is liquid concrete,” said board president Tony Perrone, who added a lot of work went into making sure the plan was respectful of families in every situation.

The first day of school for students grades 1-12 with last names beginning with A through L will be Aug. 31, with the first day for students M through Z on Sept. 1. The first group will attend class in-person Monday and Wednesday and the second on Tuesday and Thursday.

Kindergarten students with last names M through Z will be attending school in person Tuesday and Thursday starting Sept. 8. Last names A through L will be in the building Monday and Wednesday starting Sept. 9.

The district also is offering an online option for families who chose not to send students to the school building. Children enrolled in the online option must stay in that program for a full semester before switching.

Face coverings will be required for all students and staff. Families with specific questions can contact their student’s building principal.

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