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Longview ISD superintendent James Wilcox plans retirement

By Christina Lane
Dec. 12, 2011 at 11 p.m.

Longview ISD Superintendent James Wilcox announced his retirement to district principals and some area media Monday but had not officially given the news to his school board.

That notification may have come in a closed session of the board that continued late Monday.

Board President Sam Satterwhite said Monday afternoon he was aware Wilcox had notified principals, but could not confirm when the retirement would take effect because Wilcox "has not officially told the board that."

Trustee John Harrison also said he was unaware of Wilcox's plans in the hours leading up to the board's regular Monday evening meeting.

"He hasn't informed me," Harrison said of the news of Wilcox's retirement. "So I have no comment."

Longview ISD spokesman Adam Holland said in an email Wilcox planned to give his retirement notice to trustees at the meeting that began at 7 p.m. If accepted, his retirement would take effect Dec. 31, Holland said.

However, nothing was said about the matter during the portion of the meeting that was open to the public. About 9 p.m., the board went into executive session for its annual self-assessment and to discuss personnel and other matters.

"I'm pleased to have been a part of the best school district east of I-45," Wilcox said in a news release issued Monday afternoon. "This is bittersweet, as I have loved every day in Longview ISD."

Wilcox said in the news release he hasn't made immediate full-time work plans, but intends to remain active in educational circles and Longview-area organizations. Meanwhile, district officials have remained mum on rumors that the board intends to rehire Wilcox about a month after his retirement takes effect.

Such an arrangement would be acceptable under the state's Teacher Retirement System.

The move would allow Wilcox to draw a salary from the district as well as partial benefits of the Teacher Retirement System. With an annual salary of $207,500, his contract with the school district expires June 30.

The school board has rehired recently retired administrators in the past. There also are many teachers in the district who were rehired after retiring.

In August 2010, the board rehired recently retired Longview High School Principal James Brewer. Brewer retired June 30, 2010, after serving as principal since 2007. He was rehired as an assistant superintendent of secondary instruction.

The Teacher Retirement System allows employees to retire and receive retirement benefits while being employed in another position. To receive full benefits, employees must be retired from education for at least 12 months before being rehired or must be rehired in a shortage area. There are other exceptions and situations that allow full benefits.

Employees can retire and be rehired after 30 days in a non-shortage area. They are not eligible for full benefits, but can receive partial Teacher Retirement System benefits in addition to their salary. The Teacher Retirement System calculates benefits from a formula for an annual annuity.

Deputy Superintendent Andrea Mayo said in 2010 when Brewer was rehired that Longview ISD has a retire-rehire policy to keep qualified people working in the district.

The school board hired Wilcox in 2007. He came to the district from Waxahachie ISD. Under his leadership, district voters approved an almost $267 million bond election to build or renovate all of the district's campuses. He also oversaw the district reducing 28 attendance zones to six zones.

Academically, Longview ISD most recently was rated an acceptable district under the state's accountability ratings.



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