From Lafayette, Indiana Journal Courrier:

Benton Community School Corp. will lose 278 years of teaching experience this summer.

That’s the total years of experience that the nine teachers who accepted an early retirement incentive had in the district, according to Superintendent Ross Sloat. Their experience in Benton ranged from 13 to 43 years, and they were spread out among the district’s schools.

“You hate to lose the experience,” Sloat said.

But the retirements, which were approved Monday at the board of trustees meeting, will help save the district money. The district earlier this year made cuts to its budget — including cutting teachers — of more than $600,000, citing a potential $1 million general-fund shortfall.

Under the early retirement agreement, teachers with at least 10 years in Benton Schools and who were at the top of their salary scale were eligible. About 50 teachers could have applied, and between seven and 12 teachers had to accept for it to go into effect.

Each teacher received a one-time $18,000 incentive on top of other retirement provisions in their contracts.

Sloat said each of the nine retirements will save the district about $22,000 to $25,000, depending on the experience and the person hired to replace the retiring teacher. That could mean as much as $225,000 saved for the district, though the full savings won’t be known until 2009.

The idea is to save money by replacing experienced teachers who make more money with less-experienced, and therefore cheaper, teachers.

One of those retirements included the principal of Benton Central Jr./Sr. High School, Howard Feuer, who submitted his intent to retire earlier this month following a stroke last November.

The board named his replacement Monday. Destin Haas, who had been filling in as the interim principal, was named the new Benton Central principal.

Haas has 11 years of teaching and administration experience, all in Benton County. He began his career as a seventh-grade social studies teacher and most recently, he was serving as the assistant high school principal and the director of adult education.

“It’s an exciting time in my professional career,” Haas said. “I look forward to making some positive changes in the Benton Community Schools.”

Corey Robb, who had been the dean of students, will move into Haas’ former position as assistant principal.