Pike BOE seeks AG ruling

Published 7:56 am Friday, October 14, 2011

The Pike County Board of Education wants the Attorney General to clarify issues regarding employee retirement and health insurance costs.

Education Mark Bazzell called a meeting of the Pike County Board of Education Thursday afternoon to request the board’s approval of a resolution permitting him to request an opinion from the Alabama Attorney General regarding public education employee health insurance.

Come Dec. 31, 2011, all certified public education employees will be placed on a sliding scale for retiree’s health insurance costs, according to a law passed by the Legisalture.

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Bazzell said anyone who retires prior to that cutoff will not be subject to the sliding scale insurance premiums. The sliding scale will require them to pay higher premiums.

“That is causing some certified public school employees to consider mid-year retirement rather than waiting until the end of the school year,” Bazzell said. “At this time, we have two certified public employees and three support personnel who will be affected and there is the possibility there are others.”

Bazzell said the two certified public school employees who are being force to make a mid-year retirement would like to continue to work on a contract basis following their retirement. He said that arrangement would be beneficial to their students in not breaking the continuum of the educational process.

However, by law retired employees cannot earn more than $22,000.

Bazzell said he wants the Attorney General to clarify whether the employees can continue to teach on a contract basis at a lesser pay rate so as not to exceed the earnings limitation or could they be hired as a long-term substitutes.

“I think the request for on opinion by the Attorney General is worth a shot,” Bazzell said.

“If the answer is no, then we will have to advertise for those positions at the beginning on the year.”