Central Lee looks at future of space, teachers

New early retirement bonus approved by board


DONNELLSON – Central Lee’s kindergarten teachers talked Tuesday morning about bringing students through the ‘wild’ of the first year of full-time schooling.
The rewards of handling the youngest full-time students in the district would probably be a little sweeter if the district had some elementary school space.
Despite a $13 million renovation that was completed almost exactly two years ago, the district is still in need of more room at the elementary school as enrollment continues to grow.
The district has five kindergarten teachers and just as many teachers up through each grade. Space renovations at the elementary were part of the upgrade two years ago, but Superintendent Dr. Andy Crozier said plans need to start to accommodate the growing student body.
Crozier presented a brief district strategic plan update to the board at their regular meeting Monday morning.
As part of the update, Crozier said a first meeting is planned for Nov. 20 to start looking at a focus that includes the K-8 building and additional classrooms.
The district did have a slight uptick in enrollment this year with some families that moved into Montrose and some open enrollment from other districts. He said total enrollment was up about nine students for the year.
Crozier said he hopes to have more meetings following the initial Nov. 20 meeting to keep talks going around future needs of the elementary school.
Other parts of the district’s strategic plan, which Crozier called a moving document, including increasing learning and understanding of staff and parents of current mental health needs, challenges, and resources.
Crozier said the district has had three different mental health providers present to staff in August and is working to bring in more for professional development days.
He is also wanting to continue the implementation of leadership development focusing on K-12 collaboration and consistency.
Efforts are also in place to improve instructional and programmatic excellence, engaging parents including relationships with families in the district and staff recruitment, retention, and engagement.
One of the efforts to improve recruitment will be to offer an additional $5,000 incentive to teachers who are thinking of retiring.
Early retirement in the district already is incentivized with a $10,000  tax sheltered annuity payment if the district is notified by Nov. 1 of each school year, but the other $5,000 annuity payment would kick in if teachers let the district know close to two years in advance of their retirement.
“This is to create a competitive advantage, it’s not about the finances,” Crozier told the board. “This is all around succession planning to be more thoughtful about when people are retiring so we have every advantage in trying to fill that position – sometimes many months in advance.
“The reason for our early retirement is so we have a competitive advantage for the hiring. That’s it. Not for financial problems or none of the other reasons you’d have early retirement for.”
Teachers would have to submit a letter of intent to retire at the end of the following school year and the teachers must complete both years of the letter of the intent. They must fill out and complete the filing process before Sept. 1 of that school year.

Donnellson, Central Lee Community School District, strategic planning, retention, recruitment, Pen City Current, education, news, board, meeting, facilities


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