To the Editor:
After receiving a copy of a couple of articles from last week’s paper, I believe all the facts should be presented completely and accurately.
Yes, I and another person retired several years ago from USD 408 after being offered a retirement incentive by Lee Leiker, which was then approved by the board of education.
My wish was to have the same offer made to me as to previous retiring teachers: A paid-in-full health plan from the district till age 65. I was told by Leiker that the board changed that unwritten policy of retirement towards employees. They no longer wanted the financial responsibility of paying out taxpayer dollars for years to come as they had done in the past with other teachers.
The final agreement reached was a $200/mo. district contribution towards health insurance for a retiree on a single plan and $300 for a retiree on a family plan.
Fast forward three years and that unwritten board of education policy has again been reversed by the board.
I think it’s good that USD 408 is again paying full health insurance costs of its early retiring employees, a very considerate move by the board. It appears Leiker has done such a fine financial job for the district that money is available to do so; even the board president didn’t find it necessary to discuss a possible total amount for Leiker’s complete benefit.
Teachers have often spent more than twice as many years working for the district as Leiker, worked just as hard or harder to make the educational process work, and even went two years without a pay raise to help the district during tight financial times a few years ago. District teachers and staff will surely welcome this change of attitude and additional health insurance coverage at their time of early retirement.