The retirement of four teachers was approved by the Iola-Scandinavia School Board during a special meeting on Wednesday, April 8.
Announcing their retirement are: Janice Lehr, instrumental music, 35 years; Gail Johnson, third grade, 24 years; Cathy Rocco, elementary counselor, 26 years; and Robin Tomski, high/middle school counselor, 26 years.
By retiring at the end of the 2014-15 school year, all four teachers qualify for a special enhanced post-employment option offered by the I-S School District.
Post-employment benefits will be paid to the individual’s HRA account for a term not to exceed five years. The annual amount is calculated by years of service, and prorated if the retired teacher becomes eligible for Medicare during the five-year term.
The post-employment benefit options were adopted by the school board in April 2014 and amended in February 2015.
The board also discussed the rising cost and increased needs for computer IT services.
Currently, the school district contracts with Heartland Business Systems and with CESA, each for two days per week.
The district pays about $150,000 per year for computer technology services, according to Business Manager Sarah Thiel.
“I think we could probably come out better hiring someone ourselves,” said District Administrator David Dyb. “We have enough work, and I only see the need growing.”
Board member Ken Wavruk asked if the district could cost share with a neighboring district for this position.
“Then we’re right back to where we are now,” said High School Principal Sara Anderson. “With the added technology in the last seven years, we need someone here for the day-to-day problems. It has been very difficult this year.”
Elementary Principal Tess Lecy-Wojcik noted that the computers recently crashed during a required testing day. Staff had to be pulled out of other classes to fix the problem.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not helping a student or a fellow staff member (with a computer problem),” said Travis Bassett, social studies teacher. “I’m happy to do it, but it takes away from my class instruction and my prep time. It is taking away from other parts of my job.”
Anderson said the district should look for someone who can handle the day-to-day IT problems, high-end engineering and be able to work in a school environment.
Thiel recommended that the school district post the IT Network Director position to see if the right candidate is available. She suggested that the district maintain a partnership with Heartland as a back-up even if the IT position is filled.
In other business, the board agreed to keep Shana Lewis as its legal representative when she changes law firms.
The board discussed changing its meeting venue to the elementary school library/media center.