Washington Community School Board approves early retirement plan

The Washington Community School Board passed a resolution that will offer early retirement to select employees over age 55.

At their regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 10, the board approved offering an early retirement plan to all staff at least 55 years of age and who have worked in the district at least 20 years. The option will remain for two years.

Faculty who are eligible this year may retire at the end of the school year, while those who will be eligible next year will be required to declare by the end of this school year. The idea was first introduced at the last meeting as a way to bring in new employees before others retire to avoid a knowledge gap.

“Personally, this is the first time I’ve ever done that, but I like the idea,” said Superintendent Willie Stone.

In other news, the possibility of a Taekwondo club at the high school is in the works. Tanner Wenger, a teacher in the Keota school district, and his wife, Cailee Wenger, vocal music teacher at Washington Middle School, presented the idea to the board.

The pair currently practice taekwondo and were approached by high school guidance counselor Belinda Robinson, who wanted to start a new organization for students not involved in the other sports the school offers.

Tanner is a fifth-degree black belt who has been practicing taekwondo for 15 years and holds a coaching endorsement. Cailee is a brown belt who is not yet qualified to teach, but will assist her husband with teaching.

The pair proposed the club meet in the Lincoln Elementary School gym twice a week and would like to cap the class at 20 students initially. The materials required include a dobok (uniform), shin guards, Korean flag and American flag. If students purchase their own equipment the cost would come out to around $18 a month for students to participate. No action was taken.

The next meeting of the Washington Community School Board will be Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. in the boardroom.