SB 1049 Cuts Into Substitute Funds
A Senate Bill that went into law on January first was intended to help cut into the severely wounded Oregon retirement system, PERS, has had unintended consequences. Senate Bill 1049 is intended to pay down the debt of the PERS system by requiring entities that rehire retired workers that receive PERS benefits to pay additional amounts into PERS to help the system stabilize. In rural areas like Florence, it has added a burden to the school system, as many retired teachers return to substitute teaching.
“This has become a 6-12% burden on the schools to keep the same people that we have or we are going to have to stop hiring substitutes.”
Guy Rosinbaum is the school board president at Siuslaw School District. He says the bill, which was passed through quickly, didn’t take into account the rural difficulties of luring teachers and substitutes and unfairly targets the schools. Siuslaw School superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak says that the spirit of the bill, he believes was not to effect at will workers such as substitutes.
”Really when you talk about the intent of the bill it was really to put a curb on PERS costs by stopping retirees coming back on another contract.”
Additionally, the state of Oregon would like to see a reduction of class sizes but the additional costs of this bill will likely make that impossible for rural districts. Listen to the full discussion on this week’s Our Town.
The National Association of Town Watch recently awarded the City of Florence, and specifically the Florence Police Department the Outstanding Participant Award for their participation in the 2019 National Night Out. Chief Tom Turner presented the award to Administrative Assistant Jamie Gorder at Monday evening’s City Council Meeting. Florence was one of 20 to receive this award out of 16 thousand communities that participated.
New Hybrid for the City
More city news, Florence has added a fourth hybrid vehicle to its fleet. The city has purchased a Ford C-Max which is the second of its kind. The first is used as the courtesy vehicle at the Florence Municipal Airport and it joins the two vehicles that are currently used by Public Works and the Florence Police Department.
The northbound east lane of Highway 101 and the southbound west lane of Highway 101 from Highway 126 to the Siuslaw River Bridge are currently closed as workers continue to put finishing touches on the ReVision Florence Project. Still left on the corridor are the connecting roads to the project, some concrete work and the additions of the gateways. There are still some landscaping items to be completed, but the bulk of that work is done.