Just a quick take on the retire-rehire issue: I can think of only two downsides to Vince Schaefer, Mark Greguson, et al. quitting and trying to re-up mid-school year.
On the local level, we have some paperwork and practical confusion. Schaefer and Greguson have had to step down and clear out their offices. The Madison and Chester school districts have had to farm out their superintendent duties to other staff for the few-week interim... and I'm betting they aren't getting any extra pay ("extra duties as assigned"—same clause that gets teachers taking tickets at ball games for free). Schaefer and Greguson are creating some extra work for their colleagues, just so they can collect some more money.
On the state level, retire-rehire would seem to put a little more strain on the retirement fund. Schaefer and Greguson would draw on this same fund eventually; retire-rehire just means they start drawing sooner. Of course, if rehired, they'll still be paying back into the system. And by retiring early, their monthly benefit check will be less than if they stayed in and racked up a couple more years of higher salary and contributions.
Rehiring Schaefer and Greguson won't cost their own districts any money. Madison and Chester might even save by negotiating lower salaries with their rehires. But that lower salary comes at the expense of a subsidy from the state retirement system—not exactly a kosher Republican position.
In the big picture, I do have some difficulty figuring out a justification for the retire-rehire policy. It might make sense if we were talking about jobs for which we were having trouble finding qualified candidates. If there were a teacher shortage, we might well need to rehire some teachers who would do us a Favre and support the district with an encore performance. But the Madison school district received applications from four other candidates besides Schaefer (and will be interviewing at least some of them tonight and Thursday) for the super job. I can't say if those other four are qualified, but we at least have options.
So what do you think? Is retire-rehire mostly a no-harm no-foul way for veteran educators to get a little more well-deserved reward, or is it a drag on our school and state resources?
By the way, the retirement rules say that, to allow Schaefer to reap the benefits of retire-rehire, his termination must be complete in every way: no stuff left in the office, all insurance policies completely terminated, no informal agreements or duties carrying on through the interim. This is a small thing, but the school district might want to take Schaefer's name off the superintendent page, just to make clear that the termination is really a termination.
Ditto Chester's website:
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