HANNIBAL — An early retirement opportunity, which has frequently been offered in years past as a salary-saving measure, will not be offered this year by the Hannibal School District.

The decision to not make the offer to eligible certified and noncertified staff members was approved by the Hannibal Board of Education during its December meeting.

“Trying to make the best decision for the district I really don’t know if this is something I can recommend at this time,” said Susan Johnson, superintendent of the Hannibal School District, prior to the school board’s vote on the matter.

Factoring in the school board’s decision was an emergency clause that allows a school district which is having a difficult time filling certified staff vacancies to hire a retired teacher.

“There is a stipulation that if a school district exercises early separation it cannot utilize the emergency clause,” Johnson said.

Johnson is not anxious to increase the number of vacancies that will need to be filled before the start of the next school year by offering early separation to eligible staff members this year.

“We talk every month about the difficult time we have filling positions, whether it be support staff or our certified staff,” she said. “I am not going to tell you that I am not concerned about filling vacancies that we will have. We have got to make sure we have the best teachers in our classrooms.”

Although the offering of early separation is something the school board considers annually, according to Johnson this year’s response was not as strong as it typically is.

“We reached out to the staff that was eligible, both certified and noncertified staff,” Johnson said. “This year we didn’t have as many people put their name in the hat.”

Four certified staff members and two staff personnel indicated that they would “consider strongly retiring at the end of the year” if the school board chose to offer early separation.

The retirement of those six individuals and replacing them with lower-paid individuals would have seen the school district save almost $239,000 over a five-year period, Johnson said.

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