School District Employers

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This information applies to IPERS-covered employers for school districts. 

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Occupation Class CodesDescription
26Regents Police Officers
28Licensed Teachers


Reporting Official Training Video

Common Questions and Issues for School District Employers

Temporary/Permanent Employees

Your organization should decide which positions are classified as "permanent" and which are classified as “temporary” employment. Employees working in comparable positions should be consistently designated as permanent or temporary employees – two employees doing similar jobs should not be treated differently. Consistency is key.  

Substitute Teacher Clarification 
IPERS members who return to public employment as substitute teachers are subject to Bona Fide Retirement regulations regardless of whether substitutes are classified as temporary or permanent employees.

Employers should classify substitute teachers uniformly. Employers should not classify retired employees differently than younger employees. If the employer deems all substitute teachers as temporary employees, the employees do not qualify for IPERS coverage until they earn at least $1,000 in two consecutive quarters. Those employers could rehire retired substitutes (temporary employees) after the individual receives one retirement benefit payment.

To attract substitutes, many employers consider all substitutes permanent employees. In these cases, IPERS coverage begins immediately. However, permanent substitute teachers may not be rehired until they receive four retirement benefit payments. Classifying all substitute teachers as permanent employees may help with recruitment. IPERS receives many inquiries from substitute teachers looking for employers who offer immediate coverage.

Citizen Coaches
A citizen coach is a coach who performs no other work for the employing school. Sports team coaches and drama coaches are positions often filled by citizen coaches. Citizen coaches are a unique group of employees due to the fact that they may only be paid a minimum of one to three times a year. Normally, citizen coaches fall into one of the two following scenarios. IPERS does not mandate one way or the other, we just want the district to be consistent no matter which scenario is followed. 

  • A district employee has first priority when filling a coaching position currently filled by a citizen coach. Because the district employee has a higher priority, the citizen coaches would not have established an on-going relationship unless they met the normal temporary rule of receiving $1,000.00 in each of two consecutive quarters. 
  • The district gives priority to the citizen coach; meaning that a new district employee would not unseat a citizen coach from their current position. If this is the case, then the district and that citizen coach have established a relationship, and IPERS coverage should begin once that citizen coach returns to coach their second season.

You should deduct IPERS contributions until employees terminate employment or go four consecutive quarters with no wages. When either of these events occurs, employees must requalify for IPERS coverage when they return to work. When the employment of many seasonal employees ends at the end of each season, IPERS recommends that you provide a written termination notice at the end of each season and then go through your normal hiring practices that following season. Holding or reserving a position for a worker from year to year would make this arrangement permanent and IPERS contributions should be deducted upon their original hire date.

Bona Fide Retirement

In March 2024, Governor Reynolds signed HF 2612 that includes a provision to reduce the Bona Fide Retirement period from four months to one month for members who retire between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2027, and return to work as a licensed teacher only.

Visit our Licensed Teachers page for answers to frequently asked questions about the law’s implications.


School Cancelations 

School cancelations due to inclement weather may push the last day of school to June instead of May. Remember that this delay affects the first month of retirement eligibility for new retirees of a school district. If school cancelations moved the end of the school year from one month to another, the first month of retirement eligibility should be delayed for one month, as well.

If school districts adjust a retiree’s contract so their employment is formally terminated by the end of May (instead of June), the retiree would be eligible to receive retirement benefits beginning in June (instead of July). However, whether you provide this option to a retiree is something each school district must decide.

Note that retirees who terminate early and do not complete the number of days required in their original contract must demonstrate a loss in salary and/or benefits equivalent to the days not worked during the contract period. The employee may not be paid for vacation, personal or sick leave for the days not worked in June because such compensation would constitute employment in June. According to an opinion from the Iowa Attorney General’s office, employees may not “volunteer” their services in June. 

In addition, retirees should consider whether terminating their employment early would affect any other benefits offered by their employer, such as insurance coverage or retirement incentives. Again, IPERS does control or regulate additional employee benefits. 

As reporting officials, you must verify each retiree’s final date of employment by completing the “Employer’s Verification of Termination” page in each retiree’s Application for IPERS Retirement Benefits. If circumstances change after reporting officials complete this verification page, please contact IPERS to update the retiree’s application. Failure to notify IPERS of the changes could result in a retiree repaying retirement benefits.