Friday, October 4, 2013

An Important Update Regarding OPEB

Highlights from the Superintendent’s address to staff (Tuesday, October 1), the video can be viewed at

Currently, the School District of Janesville (SDJ) provides eligible employees with a post-employment/early retirement benefit (commonly called OPEB). Who are eligible employees?  Fulltime certified staff (teachers, administrators, counselors, psychologists etc.), custodians, clerical including confidential secretaries………If employees are not sure, they should check their 2012-2013 contract or board policy or ask their principal or representative.  This benefit includes participation in the SDJ’s employee health plan. This early retirement benefit will extend through June 30, 2014.

What the post-employment benefit will look like beyond June 30, 2014 is yet to be decided. The Board of Education had a workshop on September 23, 2013 to review, study and explore future options on this issue and begin to set a direction to prepare scenarios for our actuary to determine costs for several different plans in order to make a decision as to what OPEB will look like in the future.

The goal is to reach a decision on OPEB for 2014-2015 and beyond no later than February 15, 2014 or sooner. That date coincides with the administrators’ final date for notification of retirement.

Previous Board discussions on the topic of OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) resulted in the articulation of the following considerations: Any future OPEB decision should consider the following:

1.     Movement toward a fixed contribution rather than a fixed benefit plan; (Why? Because a fixed benefit has no ceiling for the cost)
2.     Providing an incentive to accrue sick leave or paid time off
3.     Being linked to health care
4.     Flexibility with regard to ownership of the plan
5.     Transitioning current employees who would be eligible to retire within a certain range of years (5-10 years); THIS IS IMPORTANT LET ME SAY IT AGAIN, transitioning current employees who would be eligible to retire within a certain range of years
6.     Extending more equity between all employee groups
7.     And the option of no post employment plan along with any health care savings accounts and participation in health care plans provided by the district but instead higher salaries, so employees can choose what they want to do with their money.  This would be most interesting to our younger staff.
The next meeting will be held as a Meet and Confer Session on October 15 (6:00 p.m.) at the ESC.  There are representatives from every employee group invited to attend.  We want all employees to be able to listen to the discussion and participate if interested.  Employees are invited to attend the meeting at the ESC or watch it via the net or watch it later at their convenience once it is posted to our website.  Obviously we can’t fit everyone into the ESC so we have tried to make it as convenient as possible for everyone to access this information. 

The handbook email address  ( is still available or call me directly, the Human Services office or share your question with your principal or representative. We will post who the representatives are for each group on our website.  It is our desire to give staff a say in making decisions that affects their future.

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