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July 1, 2008

School system retirees 'double dip' with waiver

Tracy Jan:

Nearly 100 retired educators in the Commonwealth were allowed to earn their full salaries while collecting full pensions in the past school year, a growing practice critics call state-sanctioned "double dipping."

The retirees collectively made more than $5 million on the job while taking home $5.5 million in pension payments, according to information obtained by the Globe.

The Globe review found that the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education routinely approved these special arrangements and frequently ignored its own guidelines that require school districts to provide proof that they advertised for the position and were unable to find other qualified candidates.

Critics say the practice, which was designed to make it easier for districts to fill hard-to-staff positions, leaves the door open for abuse, enticing a pool of well-connected retirees to move from one job to the next or stay indefinitely in a position that should have been filled by a nonretiree. In some cases, school districts have been allowed to continue rehiring the same retiree rather than readvertising for the position each year and providing fresh proof that they could find no one else to fill the spot, another state requirement.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at July 1, 2008 4:33 AM
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