Hannibal School Board reverses vote on early retirement plan


HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Hannibal School Board reversed itself Wednesday night and approved funding for an early retirement benefit it had unanimously denied in December.

The Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) had been funded for 19 consecutive years before the board voted against funding it for the current school year. Several board members said they felt the benefit would encourage teachers to leave the district at a time when teachers are in short supply. They felt the ERIP would create unfilled vacancies in the district. 

Six staff members had applied for the benefit during the current school year and filled out the required paperwork by the early December deadline. Several of those teachers spoke out during January’s meeting saying they had been assured by administrators that the ERIP would likely be funded again as it has been for the previous 19 years. During the February meeting teacher Tracy Radamen, who also spoke to the board in January, said he has spoken individually with most board members in the last month to explain why their vote against the funding was harmful to those who had applied and to the entire district. Rademan noted that the teacher shortage would not be resolved by the board’s actions since most of those taking early retirement would be retiring anyway. 

The issue came up for a vote during the Old Business portion of the board’s agenda. Board President Michael Holliday explained that it would take two votes to overturn the earlier decision. The first vote would rescind the decision from the December board meeting. That voted passed 5 to 2 requiring the second vote restored the early separation funding for the 6 people who had applied during the 2021/2022 school year. That vote also passed with members J’nelle Lee and Brad Kurz voting no and Holliday, Paul Ewert, Tysa Coleman, Justin Parker and Linda Clark voting yes.

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