Naugatuck schools may extend deadline for early retirement

NAUGATUCK — Not enough teachers and administrators signed up for the Board of Education’s early retirement incentive program, but the board is considering extending the deadline.

“Why not go ahead and do it and see what we can get?” Superintendent John Tindall-Gibson said.

The board originally wanted at least 12 certified staffers to sign up for the program, which offers $15,000 over two years to those who want to retire.

“There’s a significant difference in the amount of money that we would pay a new teacher compared to a teacher at the top of the salary scale,” Tindall-Gibson said.

Last year, 33 teachers signed up for the incentive, saving the board more than $2 million.

This year, five teachers and two administrators signed up for the early retirement program before the April 20 deadline. Wayne McAllister, the board’s business manager, estimates the board could save $150,000 by offering those seven the incentive.

Three teachers indicated they wouldn’t retire without the incentive, Tindall-Gibson said. Those teachers alone could save the board $40,000, he said.

“We need to decide soon,” Tindall-Gibson said. “People who are going to retire need to make arrangements and it really can’t wait until the last minute.”

Board member James Scully expressed doubts the program would be worthwhile with so few participants, especially if some changed their minds before the new deadline.

“What we had originally discussed was 12 just to make it work,” Scully said. “What if this turns out to be six, or five?”

The Joint Boards of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses will vote Monday on the budget, including the school board’s request, which the finance board cut by $893,000 earlier this week.

The board will decide at a budget meeting Wednesday whether to extend the deadline to May 27 for those who want to sign up for early retirement.

“I think we should at least wait and see where the budget is going to go,” said Dorothy Neth-Kunin, newly elected the board’s vice chairwoman.