Retirements up in Jackson

Staff Writer

Jackson School District officials said this week that 49 positions to be lost in the district for the 2010-11 school year were largely accomplished through attrition, as opposed to layoffs.

Allison Erwin, a spokeswoman for the district, said 57 employees (teachers and other staff members) have retired in Jackson following the end of the 2009-10 school year.

There were 22 retirements in 2008-09 and 21 retirements in 2007-08.

Erwin said the consensus of opinion appears to be that there was a certain amount of worry over what the future will hold for the state’s pension system.

In recent months, discussion at the state level and in the media has focused on pension and benefit packages that are paid to public employees such as those who work for the Garden State’s school districts.

At times the discussion has included talk about changing the public employees’ pension and benefit programs. No action has been taken by the Legislature to this point.

Some public employees have indicated that they preferred to retire now — although they did not have to — in order to secure their position in the current pension and benefit programs, rather than putting off retirement and facing the prospect of a different level of pension payments and benefits.

In the Plumsted School District, four teachers who taught in district schools in 2009-10 have put in for retirement and will not be returning for the 2010-11 school year, according to the superintendent’s office.

At the end of the 2008-09 school year two teachers retired.

The average number of retirements in Plumsted is between two and six per year, according to the superintendent’s office.

Given that annual average, this year’s total of four retirements is not out of the ordinary and does not appear to signal that numerous district employees were rushing to retire based on reasons relating to potential changes in pension or benefits programs, according to the superintendent’s office.

The Howell School District reported to the Tri-Town News that 34 employees retired at the conclusion of the 2009-10 school year.