RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
Three people at the Clay Local School District have announced their retirement, and will ask to be re-hired by the Clay School Board. The board has scheduled public meetings to discuss the retirement and possible rehiring of Superintendent Anthony Mantell, Elementary Principal Tony Piquet, and teacher Mark Robinson.
Mantell explained how this action will not cost any extra to local taxpayers, but will actually save the Clay School District as much as $80,000 every year.
Mantell has been an educator for 37 years. He was previously the principal at Glenwood High School, in New Boston, until he left the district to join Clay as Superintendent in 2000. Now, after 13 years, he is asking the Clay School Board to accept his retirement, effective in June of 2013. He also is asking the district to rehire him as Superintendent in August of 2013, at a lesser pay.
“There are many changes going on in the state retirement systems. STRS (State Teachers Retirement System), which is what I pay into, is probably the largest changes,” he said. “There’s been a provision in the State Teachers Retirement System that they put in a long time ago, and when they put that in a while back school employees who were under STRS, many of them were retiring with 30 years of service and they were still relatively young. Well they put this provision in that if you stay for 35 years that you got kind of a boost in your retirement. It was an incentive to get people to stay longer because that was five more years you were paying into the system.”
Because of new reforms, he said, that provision is going away within a couple of years. Another element of STRS being eliminated is the threepercent cost of living increase — being scaled back to two percent.
“If I work a couple more years without retiring, I will probably lose as much as 10 percent off my retirement. To keep working. I mean, it’s not logical,” Mantell said.
That retirement fund, he explained, was self-paid over the span of his 37-year career, and drawing it out now will not cost the taxpayers any additional money. That is only from money that he has already contributed into his STRS retirement fund during his career.
And while there is a definite personal gain for him to draw that retirement now, there is also a clear benefit to the school district.
“It will save the district a lot of money, because I will come back at a lesser rate,” Mantell said.
He said his reduced salary alone could save the district about $25,000 each year, and with the savings from all three retirements — Mantell, Piquet and Robinson — the district could save as much as $80,000.
“It’s not just salary. I would have to pay so much into Medicare and so much into the retirement system. For any school employee … the school employee right now pays 10 percent of their salary toward retirement, and the district is required, by law, to pay 14 percent. If I take a cut, 14 percent of my lower salary is saving money. They’re saving money on my salary, and saving money on any kind of benefit like Medicare, retirement, all those things,” Mantell said.
There will be additional savings to the district, he said, during the two months between the time his retirement begins in June and when he expects to be rehired in August. During that those two summer months while school is not in session, the district will not be required to pay Mantell any salary.
The money the district saves, Mantell said, will not be used for new hires but could be used to pay down the school’s $200,000 deficit budget. For example, he said, it could save one or two positions from being eliminated down the road.
The Clay School Board has scheduled a public meeting for 7 p.m. on Dec. 20 at the Clay Board of Education office to discuss the possible re-hires.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.