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Racine Unified Responds To 'Double-Dipping' Retiree Story

State lawmakers take issue with "double dipping" public employees, but a Racine Unified School administrator says this may hinder them from getting quality substitute teachers.

State lawmakers want to change the rules on boomerang employees -- public employees retiring and then returning to public jobs, according to a story by our media partners at WISN Channel 12.

The story featured Racine Unified School District Superintendent Ann Laing, who retired in 2007 and was formally re-hired by the school district a year ago. The story also highlighted how the district has 200 people "double dipping."

And while officials with Racine Unified say they have good reasons to re-hire retirees and people who are "effective educators," state lawmakers say it's not right.

Laing has been acting as interim superintendent since Dr. Jim Shaw retired in the summer of 2011.

“[The pay increase] is due to the very, very comprehensive nature of the superintendent position,” said Bill Van Atta, who was the school board president at the time.

Her benefits package also includes monthly allowances of $650 for a car, $55 for a cell phone and $1,250 from the employer contribution to Laing's retirement.

The district, however, saves money on Laing’s contract, because it does not include compensation for health insurance. It does, however, include dental, life, disability and travel insurances, as well as liability protection; sick leave; paid holidays; 30 days of vacation time; workers compensation benefits and jury duty.

Of those benefits, only life insurance and dental insurance are available upon the contract’s termination; all other benefits are inapplicable, according to the contract.

However, the Channel 12 story highlights a larger problem:

State Reps. Stephen Nass and Duey Stroebel believe many employees retire at the earliest opportunity, fully intending to go back to work in order to collect the two paychecks.

The Legislative Audit Bureau released a report in December trying to quantify the scope of double dipping. It identified more than 5,300 Wisconsin retirees who were rehired between 2007 and 2012 by local or state agencies who were simultaneously collecting paychecks and pensions funded by taxpayers.

Retirees are substitute teachers

While 200 people in the Racine Unified School District are retired and working for the district, 157 of them are licensed substitute teachers, said Stacy Tapp, director of communications for RUSD.

“Some are working one day a week and some are long-term subs, but part of the reason we use them is because they are licensed,” Tapp said.

The district has 1,600 teachers and the hours the substitute teachers work varies from a few hours a month to long-term assignments.

“There is already a challenge to the district to have licensed subs,” Tapp said. “If we lost our retirees, then we would have a really hard time replacing them.”

Tapp said the district does have a policy of hiring retirees to fill positions that are difficult to find.

“It would be nice to have school districts and educators have a voice in this,” Tapp said. “It sounds like they are going to make it illegal for public institutions in general to re-hire retirees and that is going to be very difficult for us."

But Nass sees this as a matter of right and wrong.

"This is a question of if it's right ... and it's not right," he is quoted as saying in the Channel 12 story. "I believe we need to zero out double-dipping. People need to decide whether they are retiring or not."

Stormy Weather February 06, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Ed - I don't think you can compare Van Wangaard's situation to Dr. Laing walking out the front door of a building and walking in the back door a few months later. Van Wangaard had to spend money and run for the senate seat. Dr. Shaw did the same thing. He retired, and then was hired at RUSD for $180,000.00 plus pretty excellent benefits including his $60,000.00 parting gift!
thisismyusername February 06, 2013 at 03:57 AM
Not many substitute teachers on this thread. Teachers who retire have earned their pension and the benefits that go along with it. Period. I have no problem with retired teachers becoming substitutes, they are qualified and trained. Subs do not qualify for health insurance or sick days - it is not equivalent to a full time job. If a retired teacher takes a teaching position with the district that is considered permanent - then they should no longer be categorized as retired. State legislators who work half the year - get paid for an entire year, get per diem allowances and then get to parlay those pensions into nice lobbying jobs should be the last people to vilify teachers for being willing to substitute teach Wisconsin children.
Johnny Blade February 06, 2013 at 04:19 AM
End the Violence .. The school system is funded through violence, Forced property taxation, or basically extortion ... I guess i rent my land from the school board, you don't agree with them and not want to pay, what happens, violence, jail time ... seems like the mob at work ... This is not freedom, this is not the free market at work .. this is destructive collectivism funded through violence
Johnny Blade February 06, 2013 at 04:23 AM
Rent my land from the school board, the collectivist dream, no private property rights, no allodial title ... servitude to the state ... long live the state ... death to the individual .. long live collectivism
Joe Todor February 06, 2013 at 04:29 AM
to Brian Day: > if the school system decides to re-hire ME, the budget remains the same as if they hired a replacement... actually, a LOWER budget because they wouldn't have to pay any more medical, etc .. AND, they'd be getting an experienced teacher. ... and YES, I worked for General Motors, retired with a pension and could have returned to work as a new-hire.
Tansandy February 06, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Eddy, Eddy, Eddy. Where is your outrage about the draft dodging scumbag Lehman that is also double dipping?? Who knows, he may even get a pension from Canada. Once again, selective outrage by the extreme left.
Brian Dey February 06, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Ed Holladay- I left the Board in 2008. At that time, pensions, as with all compensation, was funded as any other school district line item was funded. That is, one third funded by district tax revenues and two thirds funded by state revenues. All money expended by the district, whether it be salay, benefits or school expenditures comes from tax dollars. Obviously that has changed with Act 10 where employees and the district's liability has been ore clearly defined. Prior to At 10, the district had to contribute to the Wisconsn Employee's Pension Fund about 11.2% of the total salary and paid it back to the WRS as a line item in the budget. Under Act 10, that figure was split with an actual payment of 50% by the employee, or 5.6%. I understand what Drive to 24 is saying somewhat, as the unions have been tryig to say that because this is a deferred compensation, and the WRS Fund is not fully funded by tax dollars (88.8% is funded through investments and dividends returned on investments), that somehow, the taxpayer is magically eliminated from the equation. But that isn't true as the seed dollars com from the taxayer. Even the employee contribution derives from tax dollars.
Brian Dey February 06, 2013 at 01:10 PM
I'm not sure on the dates, but between the time she retired and nthe time she was selected as Interem Supt., she remained on as a special administrator to fix the Special Educaton department and bring them current wit state and federal law. She did an excellent job with that I might add. I'm not sure if during that time frame she was collecting a pension and a salary, but I'm pretty sure that in her current role, she is not cllecting both.
Brian Dey February 06, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Ed Holladay- As long as they meet the years of service and are age 55 or older, they do not adjust your pension based on how old you were. Generally, the 3 best salary years determines how much your pension compensation is.
Ed Holladay February 06, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Thanks, Brian
Ed Holladay February 06, 2013 at 02:54 PM
I am not really even outraged at Van, and I am not part of the extreme left. I was just curious if the talk radio crowd ripping Laing (for alleged double dipping), was also outraged at Van (one of their heroes). We have a lot more waste to be concerned with than "double dipping." We have all kinds of shenanigans going on far worse. We have massive sweetheart deals (from local to federal level), corporate welfare, entitlement fraud, agencies (like the pentagon and state dept. etc...) losing track of billions.... Lehman, Laing and Wangaard are old people (Van is maybe a bit younger) who worked for many years contributing to society . In the grand scheme of thing, their double dipping is small potatoes. That is my take anyway.
Ed Holladay February 06, 2013 at 03:01 PM
The next super will make more. It is getting outrageous. We pay the teachers less, or freeze their pay. At the same time the pay for district supers is seemingly moving right along. odd. I still think our elected officials should not get a pass on this. They can pay for their campaigns like everyone else, and forgo double dipping.
Sandy February 06, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Subs are not getting the education when subbing they used to get. My high school students have told me what happens in classes with subs...not much. That needs to change to benefit both the sub and the district. If someone has retired and decides to sub then there does need to be rules in place different than a sub who has not retired. I would suggest hiring them as a temp with no benefits. However, a bigger question would be does this fall under the AHCA and their hours would have to be monitored so as not to exceed 20/week otherwise RUSD would be fined for not providing healthcare. Those are big fines I would not want to pay. As for Laing...I lost any interest in keeping her anywhere in our system when she refused to match up teachers' teaching styles with student learning styles. I know kids that went from failing in a class to getting A's just by switching to a teacher that matched how they learn. I personally don't think Laing is worth having in our district.
Brian Dey February 06, 2013 at 04:55 PM
My point Joe. You are brought back as a new hire.
Ed Holladay February 06, 2013 at 04:56 PM
hurry Johnny, get in the bunker... the gov'ment is coming!!
c February 06, 2013 at 06:24 PM
@Joe, Drive First off, yes I believe what I wrote, why would I have written it otherwise? It what I said is all factual, look it up yourself. Or, stay ignorant, which is what I assume you'll do. Secondly, I don't want to be a teacher, I have a little more self respect than to become some lazy mindless union sheep. Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.
c February 06, 2013 at 06:26 PM
@Heather Why don't you be a REAL reporter and look at the abuse going on? Teachers setting up sweetheart deals, illegally ahead of time, to retire, then get rehired right away at full pay plus pension.
Tansandy February 06, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Eddy, Eddy, Eddy, you still didn't answer the question. You started off your rant by slamming Van! Could it be the reason was, that he was associated with Walker. And this is the real cause of your hatred? BINGO!!!!!
Johnny Blade February 07, 2013 at 12:07 AM
So i guess you believe in the violence of forced taxation ... Whats wrong with Freedom and Liberty? ... I guess Ed you don't believe in the US Constitution .. you believe the government is your god .. Well the government isn't mine And you don't believe in Private Property rights either .. the state should own your land and tell you what to do .. must be nice to be an ignorant lemming, don't think to hard you might hurt yourself
Johnny Blade February 07, 2013 at 12:12 AM
I get it your a Public school teacher and the only way you can make it is to force people with jail time to pay your salary .. must make you feel good collecting blood money .. how do you sleep at night
jks February 07, 2013 at 03:09 AM
In the district I worked in, returning retirees did not pay more into the pension system nor did the district.
jks February 07, 2013 at 03:16 AM
Bravo. Well stated!
Ed Holladay February 07, 2013 at 04:03 PM
Johnny, I should not have rattled your cage like that. Sorry to upset you. Taxation is forcible, but it pays for a lot of things: roads, courts, wars, elected officials, public safety, subsidies, entitlements... Why are you so upset just at schools? When did I say I was a teacher or government is my God? My God is the God of Isaac and Abraham. Jesus said, "give to Caesar what is Caesar's."
Ed Holladay February 07, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Tan, I did answer your question. It is on the thread above. Maybe you did not like or accept my answer.
Katy Beth February 07, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Brien Dey, you are incorrect. The retirement amounts of your check ARE different based on your age at retirement. The smallest amount available is at age 55, regardless of your 3 highest years of service. It goes up incrementally at 62 and 65... At least those are the numbers I have seen. I expect you see differences between those sample years, as well. It also depends whether you take a smaller retirement check in order to preserve some funds for a surviving spouse, or if you take your full check, which ends at your death.
Brian Dey February 10, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Wrong. Based on years of service. If you work past the 30 years, The calculation includes your three best finacial years of service after 30 years. It is still based on that for early retirees but you only rceive a percentage based on the number of years employed. I am specifically referring to teacher uninion retirements and based on my knowledge as a negotiator of those contracts between 2005 and 2008.
scot February 11, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Vote Ed to State Senator! Go Ed.
C. Sanders February 11, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Retire at 62 and not before.
Tuco February 11, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Move the retirement age for ALL public employees to 62! It is reeeediculous to see a person retire at 55, then return to the same job and make the same salary. Once you retire from the public sector, you are done. Make room for the new employees. Yes much experience is lost, but new techniques are brought in by new employees! This definately needs to change!
Linda Busha February 11, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Pension is based on 3 highest years of earnings, number of years of service and a formula factor. Which means if you retire earlier, you have fewer years of service which results in a smaller pension.

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