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Bemidji School Board: Ten teachers will receive retirement incentive

Ten teachers in the Bemidji School District have been granted participation in a retirement incentive.

The Bemidji School Board voted 5-0 Tuesday at a special meeting to approve a resolution entering into retirement incentive agreements with the 10 teachers. Board member John Pugleasa was absent from the meeting.

Last month, the board approved a resolution to offer a $10,000 retirement incentive to eligible teachers who retire before July 15. The retirement incentive payment will be deposited into each participating teachers' health care savings plan.

Due to an anticipated budget shortfall for the 2009-10 school year, the district is implementing budget reductions including teacher layoffs, Superintendent Jim Hess said in an April 13 memo. The district projected a $2 million deficit for the 2009-10 school year.

Hess noted in the memo that the retirement incentive will partially offset the budget shortfall and effectively reduce the total number of layoffs.

Ten teachers submitted requests to participate in the retirement incentive. In a memo Tuesday, Director of Human Resources Jordan Hickman said each request was compliant with state law, and the cost of the incentive payments is equal to or less than the cost of the employee layoffs that would have otherwise occurred.