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Mar 7, 2016 2:45 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Fourteen East Hampton School District Employees Opt For Early Retirement

Choral teacher David Douglas addresses the East Hampton Board of Education on the subject of his retirement. JAIME ZAHL
Mar 8, 2016 10:24 AM

A total of 14 East Hampton School District teachers and staff members will be retiring come June, following the board of education’s recent approval of requests submitted under the terms of the 2012-2016 Early Retirement Incentive Plan.

The high school will see a loss of nine employees from various departments, including science coordinator Lisa Benincasa, science teacher Dianne Picken, math teacher Laura Pluta, business teacher Nikki Jackson, art teacher Bruce Lieberman, assistant to the director of physical education, health and athletics Patricia Hand, guidance coordinator Candace Stafford and music teachers David Douglas and Marilyn Van Scoyoc, it was announced at last Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Meanwhile, Claude Beudert, a special education teacher, Lynn Gilliam, a sixth grade teacher, and JoAnn Morgan, secretary to the principal, will retire from East Hampton Middle School. John M. Marshall Elementary School Academic Intervention Services coordinator Susan Vaughan and paraprofessional Deborah McIntyre will also retire.

"This is a real watershed moment," said East Hampton High School Principal Adam Fine. "We are losing combined over 100 years of teaching experience. That is going to be no small feat to replace."

According to East Hampton Superintendent Richard Burns, teachers who planned to retire had to submit a letter by February 1 in order to be part of the incentive plan, which awards a 13 percent of salary stipend.

The reason for the early decision, Mr. Burns explained, was to allow the district ample time to conduct a thorough search for the right individuals to fill the positions.

“If we waited until end of the year, many really good teachers out there may have been chosen by other districts,” he said.

Mr. Burns said the district has already posted the available positions on its website, which include: one coding teacher; one bilingual guidance counselor, both brand new positions; one secondary English as a new language and English language arts teacher; one secondary special education teacher; one secondary science teacher; one secondary Spanish teacher; one secondary English language arts teacher; two secondary music teachers—one chorus and one band—one secondary art teacher; one secondary mathematics teacher and two elementary school teachers.

In addition, the district will hire an elementary school assistant principal to replace Dennis Sullivan, whose resignation was approved at the board meeting.

With veteran teachers on their way out and new teachers on their way in, Mr. Burns said the staffing changes will considerably ease the financial burden the district is facing due to the near-zero tax cap implemented by New York State. In total, he said the district will see up to $70,000 or $80,000 in salary-related savings. He added that this would be the reason why the district would be able to stay under the tax cap.

A handful of the approved retirees were present at the board meeting. In particular, choral instructor David Douglas addressed the board about the major changes the music department is facing with his and Ms. Van Scoyoc’s impending departure.

“I understand the need for accountability, I truly do, but I hope that with my departure and with all kinds of changes in the music department that you don’t start looking toward quantifiable ways to hold music teachers accountable,” said Mr. Douglas.

He also thanked the board for their support and encouragement throughout his career with the district, crediting them with making East Hampton High School choir performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Vatican possible.

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All great teachers and yes a backbone of many generations of bonackers. All the best in you next chapters of life. Thank you all for your dedication to the profession.
By H2O (85), easthampton on Mar 8, 16 10:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
You have 14 teachers retiring and the district will only save $80,000? How much will the new hires be paid?
By Rich Morey (372), East Hampton on Mar 9, 16 7:54 PM
Start at 130k like the transportation HEAD BUS DRIVER!
By concerned (5), on Mar 22, 16 4:49 PM
14 HIGHLY paid and pensioned.
By Woods woman (143), East hampton on Mar 15, 16 10:42 PM
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