Middle School Principal Continues To Work Despite Retirement

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The principal's office at Rim Country Middle School does not have a new occupant, despite the fact that Monica Nitzsche retired on Dec. 31, 2006.

She was then approved for rehire by the Payson Unified School District board at its regular January meeting.

Now, instead of her salary and benefits being paid by PUSD, Nitzsche is paid by her new employer, Educational Services, Inc., and she is responsible for her own insurance.

"We may see more of this trend as our teachers reach retirement age," said PUSD superintendent Sue Myers, who said she sees the option to be rehired after retirement on new terms as a "win-win" situation for the district.

"One benefit to the district is that we pay only ninety percent of her salary," Myers said.

When a qualified, experienced employee retires, that person may consider staying with the job longer because they can collect their pension as well as be paid a salary by ESI.

ESI, a private company from Cottonwood, is in the business of providing staff to schools and school districts.

The ability to cash a pension check yet return to work and earn a salary is made possible by state law.

The law allows employees such as teachers, police and corrections officers, and firefighters, to receive their retirement benefits as long as they work as a contractor.

After a year, those employees are eligible to return to work with no restrictions.

PUSD requires that individuals who were employed by ESI and want to come back to work after their year is up, to return to the same position they left. Board and superintendent approval are also requirements.

Nitzsche is the only person in the school district currently employed by ESI, but she did not set the precedent. Several years ago, curriculum and special programs director Bill Lawson took the option.

Louis Crabtree, the teacher responsible for the alternative-to-suspension program at RCMS and Payson High School, submitted his request to retire then be rehired through ESI.

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