The purposes of the Voluntary Early Retirement Policy are to provide full-time employees an incentive for early retirement and to maintain financial efficiency for the district. Annually, no later than December 31, the Board shall determine if the retirement program will be available to employees. At that time, the Board shall determine the incentive to be offered for participation in the Voluntary Early Retirement Program.
Definition of Terms:
Years of Service – Years of service must be consecutive and must include the most recent school year prior to the application for early retirement.
Continuous Employment – Continuous employment must be without voluntary interruptions of service. Interruptions due to reductions in force will not constitute a voluntary interruption of service, unless the interruption exceeds twenty-four consecutive months in length. However, the period of time during which an employee is absent due to a reduction in force will not be counted for purposes of determining the minimum years of service to establish eligibility.
Regular, Full-Time Employee – A regular, full-time employee is an employee who works a minimum of at least seven (7) hours per work day for one hundred eighty (180) or more days per work year.
A regular, full-time employee is eligible for early retirement if the employee:
1. Has a current contract with the Knoxville Community School District.
2. Is at least 55 years of age the month prior to receiving any early retirement benefits.
3. If a teacher is at the top of his/her lane on the salary schedule, and an employee of the district for at least 10 consecutive years, and is actively employed on a full-time basis during the last school year prior to early retirement.
4. If a support staff employee or administrator, is an employee of the district for at least 10 consecutive years, and actively employed on a full-time basis during the last school year prior to early retirement.
5. Makes application by January 10 for retirement which would begin at the end of the last contract year.
6. Is not on extended leave of any kind.
7. Is not eligible for, applying for, or receiving benefits under a leave of absence or other district plan.
8. Has not previously received early retirement benefits from the school district.
Effect of Application:
1. An employee’s application for the early retirement program is, in itself, not a resignation of a contract with the Knoxville Community School District. However, acceptance by the Board of an employee’s application for early retirement will be considered a voluntary resignation and termination of his/her continuing contract.
2. The Board of Education shall have the right to limit the number of early retirements in a given contract year. Should an employee apply for this program and not be granted it due to the Board’s limitations, that employee would remain eligible for consideration the following year.
3. If the Board of Education is unable to fill a vacancy created by an early retirement, it may delay that person’s early retirement for one year; however, the incentive available to the retiring employee will be based on the retiree’s most recent contract. Eligibility will be the same as what was available when the employee made his/her initial request for early retirement. Certified employees shall be notified by May 15 if the early retirement will not be granted; administrators and non-certified personnel shall be notified by July 15 if the early retirement will not be granted.
Early Retirement Incentives
Early retirement incentives are offered as an inducement to and consequences of retirement and are not to be construed as a continuation of salary. The retirement incentive shall be determined annually by the Board of Education, no later than December 31.
Payment of monetary incentives shall be prorated and paid in monthly installments of equal amounts to a tax-sheltered annuity, for a period of three years (36 equal installments). Payments shall begin in July of the first year of retirement for administrators and support staff employees with a contract year ending June 30. Payments shall begin in September of the first year of retirement for all other employees with a contract year ending August 30.
Employees who are approved for early retirement benefits shall receive the (monthly) benefit in the form of a tax-sheltered annuity, which complies with Internal Revenue Code Section 403 (b). Payments will be made (by the District) to the annuity provider for contribution to the employee’s account.
Compensation will cease if the retiree expires before the end of the payment term.
Continuation of Insurance:
Employees retiring under the early retirement program are eligible to participate in the District’s health, dental, and/or term life insurance plans with all premiums to be paid by the employee/retiree unless payment of insurance premiums is determined by the Board to be included as an incentive for participation in the program. Insurance benefits are subject to the policy provided to active employees in their classification. These insurance programs are therefore subject to change.
In case of the death of a retired employee who was an active participant in the district’s health insurance program, the surviving spouse of that retired employee may continue to participate in the district’s health insurance program only if the spouse was covered at the time of the death of the retired employee and is not eligible to participate in a health insurance program offered by the spouse’s employer. Costs for insurance premiums shall be paid by the insured.
Reemployment of Retired Employees
At its discretion, and based upon the needs of the school district, the Board of Education may approve the reemployment of retired Knoxville School District employees who have retired under the provisions of this policy. These retired employees, if rehired, may/will continue to receive their early retirement benefit while receiving compensation for the duties they are performing as active employees of the district.
Retired employees wishing to return to active employment shall be eligible for part-time or substitute employment only. Part-time employment is defined as employment for up to 75% of the retiree’s previous contract day. To be eligible for reemployment as a contracted employee, the retiree must be inactive as an employee of the district for a period of at least 120 days.
Teachers retiring under the district’s Voluntary Early Retirement Program, if offered reemployment, shall be considered new employees (and not returning employees) and shall receive no more than eight (8) years of credit for previous teaching experience when determining placement on the salary schedule.
Approved: 07/13/2015 Reviewed: Revised: 2/12/2018