Administrative Rules and Procedures to Implement
ELKHORN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
EARLY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM
The purpose of this program is to encourage Eligible Employees who are considering an early-leaving decision to accelerate their retirement plans. Objectives include, but are not limited to, the following:
- To offer financial incentives which will assist long-term employees considering early retirement or early-leaving decisions.
- To reduce costs to the school district by replacing maximum salaried employees with lesser salaried employees.
- To provide a better balance of employee experience.
- Eligible Employee:To be a participant a person must be employed by the school district as of the date of acceptance of the person’s application in the position of a fully certified employee (a) covered by the negotiated agreement between the Elkhorn Public School District and the Elkhorn Education Association (hereinafter sometime referred to as “Eligible Employee” or “Employee” or “Teacher”), or (b) under contract as Superintendent or Administrator (hereinafter sometimes referred to as “Eligible Employee” or “Employee” or “Administrator”).
- Full-Time Equivalency: An Eligible Employee, both full-time and part-time, may participate in the Early Retirement Incentive Program (“ERIP”), provided that the part-time Employee’s benefits under such plan shall be prorated based on their Full Time Equivalency (hereinafter “FTE”); said FTE to be determined based on the Employee’s actual scheduled salary as of December 1 of the Employee’s final contract year. A part time Employee who is on a leave of absence in part and work part-time, as of December 1 of the Employee’s final contract year shall be eligible to participate in this ERIP to the extent of their on-duty FTE. Employees who are on a sabbatical leave, leave of absence, or other board approved leave as of December 1 of the Employee’s final contract year shall not be eligible to participate in this ERIP.
- Criteria for Eligibility:
(1) Salary Schedule Placement: In order for an Employee to participate in this program, the Employee must have completed 15 years of service with the school district and have a final contract year salary schedule placement of at least Step J on the BA+18 column, or Step I in the BA+27, BA+36, MA, MA+9, MA+18, MA+27, or MA+36 educational column, or be eligible for at least such a placement if an administrator in the school district. Board approved military service, sabbatical and/or approved leave of absence, or other leave required to be granted according to law, shall not be included as credited years for placement on the salary schedule. In determining credited years for placement on the salary schedule with the school district, part-time employment is considered only when the FTE is .5 or greater, and is credited at the FTE level during the year of employment.
(2) “Window” of Eligibility: There shall be a period of eligibility, hereinafter referred to as a “window”, when an Employee may elect to participate in this ERIP. The window shall open on September 1 of the calendar year when:
a. The Eligible Employee reaches fifty-four (54) years of age and is eligible to receive unreduced benefits from the Nebraska Public School Retirement System (“NPERS”) by virtue of age and years of creditable service in that system, and shall close on the second August 31 thereafter;
b. The Eligible Employee who is fifty-four (54) years of age or more is first eligible to receive unreduced benefits from the NPERS by virtue of age and years of creditable service in that system, and shall close on the second August 31 thereafter.
4. Notice of Assignment and Salary Schedule Placement: On or before December 1 of each year, the administration of the school district shall provide all Eligible Employees of the school district verification of their teaching assignment, salary schedule placement and years of service to the school district.
5. Acceptance or Rejection of Applications: The Board of Education of the school district, in its sole and absolute discretion, reserves the right to accept or reject any or all applications based on financial exigencies, availability of funds, budget, expenses, revenue, and other school finance issues.
6. Criteria for Selection: If there is more than one applicant for participation in this ERlP, the selection of the Eligible Employee(s) allowed to participate in the ERIP shall be based upon the following criteria in descending order:
(1) Date of Application: The individual(s) with the date of application first in time will be given preference for participation in the ERIP. Applications will be date stamped by the Superintendent’s office.
(2) Highest Salary: If two (2) or more individual applications are filed on the same date, then the individual(s) with the highest salary on the salary schedule in the negotiated agreement between the school district and the Elkhorn Education Association, or its successor, in effect for the contract year when the applications are received shall be given preference for participation in the ERIP.
(3) Tie Breaker: If two (2) or more individuals tie on criteria “a” and “b”, the names of those persons who are tied shall be placed in a container and names will be drawn from the container for each opening in the ERIP.
C. ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS:
- Resignation: Eligible Employee participants in the program shall resign their positions with the school district effective at the close of the school year in which the application for participation in this ERIP is received, and thereby relinquish the Employee’s actual and existing continuing contract rights in consideration for the benefits outlined in paragraph “D” below.
- Notice of Plan and Future Employment: The Superintendent or Superintendent’s designee shall notify all Teachers and Administrators of the school district of the adoption of this Early Retirement Incentive Policy (ERIP) and the attendant ERIP Application and Agreement on or before January 1 each year; a copy of said ERIP Application and Agreement as it now exists, or as it may be from time to time amended, may be obtained from the school office of each school in the district.
- Application and Agreement: Any Eligible Employee who attains the minimum eligibility requirements shall be eligible to participate in the ERIP. Each qualified Eligible Employee who wishes to participate must submit an Application and Agreement form properly executed, which is to be received in the Superintendent’s Office on or after January 15, but on or before January 31, of the eligible employee’s last contract year of employment. An Application and Agreement may be withdrawn by the employee at any time within seven (7) days following the date when it was received by the Superintendent’s Office. The superintendent or his designee shall review the Eligible Employee’s record to determine eligibility. If eligible, the Board of Education shall approve the Application and Agreement, except as may be otherwise provided herein, at the regular February meeting of the Board of Education immediately following the receipt of the Eligible Employee’s Application and Agreement, or at such later time as deemed appropriate. FAILURE TO SUBMIT THE APPLICATION AND AGREEMENT WITHIN THE TIME FRAME SPECIFIED IN THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL RESULT IN THE REJECTION OF SUCH APPLICATION AND AGREEMENT.
- Terminated Employee’s Ineligibility: An employee who has received written notice of possible termination for reasons other than reduction in force, or who has received written notice of possible cancellation shall NOT be eligible and may NOT participate in this program, UNLESS after a hearing before the Board of Education it is determined that said Employee’s contract shall not be canceled or terminated, or the decision of the Board of Education to terminate or cancel is subsequently set aside.An employee who has received written notice of possible termination for reasons of a reduction in force shall be eligible and may participate in this program if, but only if, said employee expressly waives all rights to which he or she may be entitled under the reduction in force law.
- Calculation of Benefits: An Eligible Employee participating in the ERIP shall receive the following benefits:
(1) ERIP BENEFIT. The school district shall following the Eligible Employee’s retirement make a non-elective contribution to a 403(b) annuity or custodial account selected by the Eligible Employee in an amount equal to two and seventy-five hundredths percent (2.75%) of the actual scheduled salary to be earned by the Eligible Employee during the contract year when application is made for participation in this ERIP multiplied by the number of years of creditable service (scheduled salary x 2.75% x years of creditable service = benefit) payable in thirty-six (36) equal monthly installments to be made on the regular pay day for certified staff each month beginning with the September immediately following the end of the contract year when the Eligible Employee’s resignation is effective, and continuing to be paid on the regular pay day for certified staff each month thereafter until paid in full. Scheduled salary refers to salary paid from the salary schedule, which excludes salary paid for extra responsibility, extended contract and fringe benefits.
If the Eligible Employee fails to designate the 403(b) annuity or custodial account to which the contribution is to be made, the district will hold the contribution until the Eligible Employee does designate the annuity or custodial account. The parties further agree that the non-elective contribution described herein will not exceed any Internal Revenue Code or other limit imposed by law at the time the contribution is made. If the contribution, together with any other contributions on behalf of the Eligible Employee would cause the Eligible Employee to exceed the maximum allowed by law, the excess shall be paid to the Eligible Employee in cash, less required withholding.
- Source of Funds: The school district shall pay the entire cost of the plan.
- Administration: This plan shall be administered by the Board of Education by and through the administration of the school district.
- Beneficiary Designation: In order for the application to be considered complete, a beneficiary must be designated. Upon death of the participant employee before all benefits are paid, the beneficiary shall receive benefits pursuant to the terms of this ERIP.
- COBRA Rights: Pursuant to COBRA, a retired Eligible Employee will have the opportunity to continue participation in the school district’s group health insurance plan for at least eighteen (18) months following retirement upon payment by the Eligible Employee of the monthly insurance premiums.
E. TIME FOR CONSIDERATION OF APPLICATION AND AGREEMENT, WAIVER AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS:
- Time to Consider Application and Agreement: An Eligible Employee who elects to participate in the Elkhorn Public School District Early Retirement Incentive Program shall be given at least forty-five (45) days within which to consider the ERIP Application and Agreement. That ERIP Application and Agreement shall alert the Eligible Employee that the Elkhorn Public School District Early Retirement Incentive Program is totally voluntary in nature.
- Waiver and Release of Claims: The ERIP Application and Agreement shall also include a specific Waiver and Release of Claims of the participant’s rights under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA) 29 U.S.C. § 621-63 and the Act Prohibiting Unjust Discrimination in Employment Because of Age, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-1001 et seq., the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 51001 et seq., and all other state and federal constitutions, statues and regulations that relate to the validity of the ERIP, and allow the Employee to revoke the Release or Waiver at any time within seven (7) days after signing the contract, and advise the Employee to consult with an attorney before signing the Application and Agreement. THE SPECIFIC TERMS OF THE WAIVER AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS SHALL BE AS FOLLOWS:
WAIVER AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS:
An Eligible Employee who elects to participate in the Elkhorn Public School District Early Retirement Incentive Program shall as part of the Application and agreement for the program enter into the following Waiver and Release of Claims: “By entering into this Agreement the Eligible Employee hereby releases, waives, acquits, and forever discharges the School District, all past, present, and future members of the Board of Education of such School District in their official and individual capacities, the Administrators, and all other officers, agents, and employees of the School District, in their official and individual capacities, from any and all claims, however characterized, whether for damages, costs, expenses, compensation, penalties, wages, benefits, reinstatement, attorneys’ fees, or attorneys’ fees under 42 U.S.C. ‘1988, or the like, with respect to, arising out of, or in relation to the Eligible Employee’s employment with the School District, including, but not limited to, claims or rights:
(1) under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) ( 29 U.S.C. ‘621 et seq.), and the Act Prohibiting Unjust Discrimination in Employment on the Basis of Age (Neb. Rev. Stat. ’48-1001 et seq.);
(2) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) (29 U.S.C. ‘1001 et seq.);
(3) under Title VI (42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.; 34 CFR §100 et seq.), Title VII (42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq.) and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (20 U.S.C §1681; 34 CFR 106.1 et seq.);
(4) under the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and 1871 (42 U.S.C. ‘1981, through and including 42 U.S.C. ‘1988);
(5) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq.; 28 CFR §35.101 et seq.), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. §791, et seq.; 34 CFR §104, et seq.), and the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.C. ‘2601 et seq.);
(6) under the Nebraska Fair Employment Practices Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-1101 et seq.), the Nebraska Equal Opportunity in Education Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. §79-2,116 et seq.), the Industrial Relations Act, including unfair labor practices claims under that Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-801 et seq.), and civil rights claims under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 20-168 and other state and local laws;
(7) under the Wage Payment and Collection Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-1228 et seq.), including claims or rights to be paid for any unused leave, but excluding rights to salary earned and unpaid for the final year of employment;
(8) of or relating to discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic background, color, religion, sex, age, disability, handicap, marital status or national origin, or other protected status, free speech, and unlawful retaliation, before the state or federal EEOC or NEOC, or any other agency or department or state or federal courts under any state or federal constitution, law, rule, or regulation;
(9) for breach of contract or tort, including but not limited to negligence, libel, slander, and breach of confidentiality or privacy;
(10) of whatsoever nature arises under any other state, federal, or local constitution, statute, regulation, or ordinance arising out of the Eligible Employee’s employment with the School District, this Agreement, the ERIP, or the Eligible Employee’s resignation from such employment.
This waiver and release is given in exchange for good and valuable consideration (the ERIP severance benefit) beyond that to which the Eligible Employee is otherwise entitled to pursuant to law or agreement.”
F. TERM OF PROGRAM:
The Elkhorn Public School District’s ERIP shall be offered only to Eligible Employees as defined herein, and who timely submit an ERIP Application and Agreement.
Revised: November 14, 2011
Revised: September 11, 2017