by Onan Coca
The Michigan Education Association (MEA) is trying its hardest to force the West Branch-Rose City school district to pay severance to a teacher who was convicted of molesting one of his students. The union wants the school district to pay out a $10K severance package to Neal Erickson, a former math teacher at Rose City Middle School, because he apparently accepted a district wide severance offer before he was officially terminated.
The district sometimes offers a severance package to teachers as incentive to helping them make personnel cuts when the district is having financial difficulty. The last time the district offered the severance deal was around the same time that Mr. Erickson was being investigated for his atrocious crimes. He apparently accepted the deal before the conclusion of the investigation; however, the district refused to pay him the severance offer, so the MEA is trying to get him the money.
District Superintendent Dan Cwayna made the final call not to pay Erickson the severance package.
The school district declined to pay him the money, prompting the union’s action.
“You had to qualify for the buyout, depending on your years in the district,” Cwayna said. “We’ve done it in the past. It was a little different this last year in that we offered the buyout in two $5,000 payments.
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