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The retirements of five Lackawanna School District teachers, with combined experience totaling more than 170 years, were approved Thursday by the School Board.

The board met in special session to approve the retirements and accompanying incentives of $20,000 each.

The teachers and their subjects were: Shirley Baich, math; John Koup, instrumental music; Ann Pickard, pre-kindergarten; Virginia Witczak, math; and Barbara D'Orazio, elementary education.

D'Orazio, who was hired in September 1962, had the most experience of the group.

According to a recent year's district payroll records, the annual salaries of the five averaged more than $63,000.

Retirements are a way for the district to save money -- and possibly jobs, officials have said.

Schools Superintendent Paul G. Hashem previously said: "If we have the older teachers that have the highest salaries retire, there will be less probability of layoffs and greater class sizes with our younger teachers."

Hashem said Thursday night that the district will have to replace at least one math teacher.

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