RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - About four years have passed since Rapid City Area Schools ended its early retirement program and depending upon how many years a teacher has been with the district, the payout is hundreds to thousands of dollars.
South Dakota Education Association negotiates with Rapid City Area Schools to divvy out early retirement benefits (KOTA TV) -
Most of the money has to go into a retirement fund.
With changes to the funding formula by the Legislature and the loss of the pension levy, one veteran educator says that is when she and many others knew that the days of the early buyout or voluntary retirement buyout were coming to an end.
Teachers age 58 or over with 15 consecutive years in the district qualify to get a piece of the millions of dollars in the fund in the now-ended program.
Those individuals have to put their share in a retirement fund.
For those who came in later in 2014 for example, they still qualified but were given lower amounts that do not need to go into a retirement account.
Sue Podoll, a 26-year teacher and president of the South Dakota Education Association says going into education, you know that the salary is not high but you also know that the end of your career can be promising.
That is why she says the district and its negotiation with the association have been really helpful.
"It's a way to at least say yep ... we know that this is a benefit that we can no longer afford but here you go for those of you who have been with us and this is how we'd like to divvy it out," Podoll said.
Podoll says it is once you really reach your peak as a teacher, you start to realize the importance of planning for the rest of your life.
"You don't think about it in your early thirties that retirement is even close at hand but when you start to hit that couple of decades and you think well ok. How am I setting for retirement and is this going to work and what do I need to do," she continued.
Eligible teachers receive one lumpsum dependent on what the IRS rules.
Podoll said there is no longer any pension money being assessed.