Siems, Bode & Johnson To Take EPS Early Retirement Offer

When the 2015-2016 school comes to an end at Elgin Public School, three long-time teachers will wrap up their teaching careers.
At Thursday night’s meeting, the District #18 Board of Education accepted three applications for early retirement from guidance counselor/FCCLA advisor Barb Bode, math instructor Jeane Johnson and kindergarten teacher Brenda Siems. The three have a combined 110 years of service to EPS, said Superintendent Dan Polk at the meeting.
According to the school’s website, Siems has taught kindergarten for close to 40 years. Johnson began her teaching duties in Elgin in the Fall of 1978. After two previous stints at EPS, Bode has been a fixture in the school since 1990.
Polk said the trio were among the top five in terms of years of service among active teachers at the school.
“I know they are very appreciative of the opportunity for early retirement,” he told the board.
Board member Laurie Waterbury said it’s hard to lose three quality teachers such as Bode, Johnson and Siems.
Just how much will the early retirement cost the school district? Polk said the cost of the early retirement incentive package, combined for the three, will be approximately $90,000 to be distributed in two separate payments per the stipulations approved by the board in 2015.
Before the board accepted the applications, they modified the incentive policy to include the following wording “Employees who have a break in service prior to the 2016-17 school year shall be allowed to count all actual years of service prior to the 2016-17 school year, regardless of the break in service. Any employee who has a break in service after the 2016-17 school year may not count the years of service prior to the break toward eligibility or payment under this policy.”
Aware that the school might have some teaching position openings due to the applications, Polk told the board the school district has already begun advertising openings for the next school year.
The only other “action” item on the board’s agenda during the nearly-hour long meeting involved more dollars and cents.
Having approved an extension of the superintendent’s contract during the December meeting, the board settled on a salary for Polk. The board approved a two percent increase raise for Polk for the 2016-17 contract. District patrons can view the contract on the school’s website