By not taking any action after discussion on Monday night, the Decorah Community School Board communicated their expectation that early teacher retirees will be expected to fulfill their contractual obligation to complete the school year – at this time, June 7. The implication of the teachers working into June, instead of completing work in May, is that they will not be eligible for a state IPERS pension fund payment in June, and will have to wait until July.
The issue had been discussed earlier by the board, and at that time it appeared there was at least a possibility of making arrangements for those six teachers to fulfill their contracts in May by doing advance work in May. However, the additional snow days leave at least five school days to be covered. The expenditure for substitute teachers was not the issue – that could have cost the district about $3,000. But board members were clear, as summarized by Board Chair Ron Fadness, that the real question is, "What is best for the students?"
Beyond students missing at least one week of classes from their regular teachers, issues such as getting substitutes and fair grading for the affected students were noted.
Superintendent Mike Haluska indicated that no communication or position on the issue had been received from the Decorah Education Association.