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Bismarck State College losing teachers, staff to early retirement

BISMARCK -- At Bismarck State College, 15 employees are retiring by the end of this year, most of them driven to early retirement by statewide budget cuts.

BISMARCK -- At Bismarck State College, 15 employees are retiring by the end of this year, most of them driven to early retirement by statewide budget cuts.

Earlier this year, BSC was required to cut its 2017-19 budget by $1.6 million due to the state's falling revenue as oil and agricultural prices continue to drop.

“You do that through a variety of means, and one of them was these retirements," said President Larry Skogen, adding BSC is estimated to save $400,000 through the re-organization of several top positions. "The bottom line is we’re saving money."

The 15 faculty – in administration and academia – comprise over 400 years of experience, and have "contributed their lives to this institution," Skogen said.

The terms of the incentive agreements were negotiated with each employee, and depended largely on the benefit the college gained as a result of their retirement. Incentives ranged from 25 percent to 75 percent of an employee's annual salary in one or two payments, or an equivalent amount applied to health insurance premiums.

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Though the retirements inevitably saved money for BSC this year, more retirements are yet to come, Skogen said. The college had to reduce its budget by 4.05 percent this year. Next year, it's a 10 percent reduction.

Among those leaving were Debbie Van Berkom, who has been in her role as executive assistant to the president for 39 years. Her last day was Friday.

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