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ELKO – The school district will be looking to replace 14 employees after the school board approved buyouts on Tuesday.

The Elko County School District Board of Trustees approved 14 requests to purchase retirement service credit, from employees who bought two years or less out of their 30-year contract. There were 26 requests altogether.

The buyouts cost the district $695,000, based on estimates from the state Public Employees Retirement System, and will save an estimated $175,000 over two years, said Superintendent Jeff Zander.

“The buyouts save more money over time, but we don’t forecast that past two years,” Zander said. When the district hires new teachers, “there’s a significant savings in salary benefits for the first 15 years.”

According to PERS, employees may agree to buy one year of service on approximately one-third of their salaries. They may pay for it one lump sum, through a payroll deduction, or direct rollover from an annuity or IRA plan.

The district is evaluating how to proceed with hiring replacements, Zander said.

Sybol McCoy said she taught for 25 years and although she “loves those kids” she was looking forward to retiring to travel more with her husband and be with her grandchildren.

“I want to go see them, and I want to see their school functions,” McCoy said.

Trustee Kieth Fish said he was in favor the buyouts and related to employees trying to decide if they could live on their retirements.

“I was 62 when I retired, which was 20 years with the buyout,” Fish said, adding he also considered how some of the employees were burned out like he was at retirement.

Trustee Teresa Dastrup praised the outgoing employees for their service to the district, noticing their efforts when she volunteers.

“Thank you to our teachers and staff who work so hard,” Dastrup said. “I see the hard work you put in and the time you spend before school and after school and even helping kids who aren’t in your classes.

“We really appreciate the dedication you have to our students in Elko County. What you do makes a difference to them lifelong, not just the few years or the little bit of time they see you in the classroom, so thank you.”

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Courts, schools & Spring Creek reporter

Staff writer for the Elko Daily Free Press

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