State may come up short on teachers’ benefits |

State may come up short on teachers’ benefits

by Maggie O'Neill

The Carson City School District will consider paying a portion of extra retirement credit to school staff in positions considered hard to fill because the state may not have enough money.

Hard-to-fill positions are defined as teachers in math, science, special education and English as a second language. School psychologists are also eligible for the one-fifth extra retirement credit.

“Occasionally unfunded mandates have occurred,” said Richard Stokes, the school district’s superintendent of human resources. “This is obviously one that we don’t know how it’s going to impact us.”

Carson City doesn’t have a problem attracting teachers – even for the positions defined as hard to fill, Stokes said.

“So far we’ve been fortunate. I think Carson City is an attractive place to live and work and we have been blessed by having a number of applicants.”

The state set aside a one-time $5.7 million to fund the extra retirement credit, which is seen as a way to entice school employees to stay in the state.

In Carson City, there are 97 staff members eligible for the credit at an average of about $3,500 per person. The credit differs based on how long an employee has been in the school district. To be eligible, they must have worked in the district for five years as a teacher or psychologist.

Last year, state law required teachers in at-risk schools and schools in need of improvement receive one-fifth extra retirement credit. The district ended up paying $56,739 of the retirement credits last year. The state paid $22,636.

“I think (the hard-to-fill legislation) is going to be a lot higher (to us) because our number of teachers who qualify is going to be much higher,” he said. “What we don’t know is what the state won’t be able to fund.”

Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at mo’ or 881-1219.

If you go

What: Carson City School District board meeting

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

Call: 283-2000