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Fargo replacing school employee longevity plan

Posted: November 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm

FARGO The Fargo School Board voted Tuesday to end the districts current employee longevity award plan and replace it with a multiyear program to drastically cut payments to employees and shrink a potential $7.4 million in retirement-related costs.

However, what sort of plan the board will approve is still up in the air.

The school boards planning committee will try to hammer out a new plan or plans for the full board to debate and give final approval at their Dec. 11 meeting.

At the same time, district staff were directed by board President Jim Johnson to put a cost-savings tag to any of the alternatives presented.

In the meantime, the president of the Fargo Education Association fumed over the prospect that the employee appreciation payments which have been in place since the late 1990s could be slashed and ended.

Im deeply disappointed for our teachers and support staff who have been relying on this policy, Kim Belgarde said.

Staff will have difficulty understanding how the board can rescue Bluestem but not keep the promises theyve made to their staff, she said. Im sure our members will be voicing their opinions.

In all, 240 of the school districts 1,427 employees are eligible for payments under the rules of the old plan if they were to retire or leave the district.

For the 2012-13 school year, they can cash in up to 180 days of accumulated sick leave at $247.34 a day for administrators, and $211.43 a day for teachers and other support staff eligible for the plan.

If the 97 district employees who are eligible to retire were to give their notice by January, the district would have to pony up $3.3 million in payments, Business Manager Broc Lietz calculated.

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Fargo replacing school employee longevity plan

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