Teacher Buyout In Warwick?

Russell J. Moore of the Warwick Beacon reports that the American Federation of Teachers has a longer-then-usual-term proposal for addressing the school financing situation in Warwick…

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is asking the school department to seriously consider offering teachers a retirement incentive that they believe would save the department millions without compromising the quality of education.
The plan, which has already been implemented in communities throughout the country, would pay teachers somewhere between $50,000 to $70,000 over a five-year period if they agreed to either retire or resign.
The move, argues Jule Gould, a National representative of the AFT, would save money by allowing the district to either hire new teachers at a step one pay scale—just over $30,000 per year—and replace step 10 teachers, who earn close to $70,000 per year. Or, he said, the district could opt to not replace the teachers at all.
The buyout plan would allow the district to reduce staff without violating their layoff clause, which only allows them to layoff 20 teachers per year.
The Warwick Teacher’s Union has ran ads in the Beacon in recent weeks, stating the union “has been exploring ways to save funds while keeping standards high for each and every Warwick student.”
While the ad isn’t specific as to what it is referring to, the AFT confirmed that a buyout plan, at this point, is all they have in mind.

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Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

Since the majority of teachers in RI have no minimum retirement age for collecting a pension, no doubt all of the “early retirees” would immediately start drawing on that PLUS the early retirement incentive from Warwick.
Also, I don’t know about Warwick in particular, but many teacher contracts in RI include multi-thousand dollar “bonuses” for teachers who inform the school district that they plan to retire the next year. If Warwick has those that’ll eat into the purported “savings.”
Also again, consider that those “early retirees” presumably also get fully paid or heavily subsidized health care at the taxpayers expense – so that cost will be added into the school budget along with the health care packages for the new hires.
As for the new hires, with each passing year they rise a “step” – so the “savings” begin declining after year one, and with each passing year thereafter. Within 10-12 years they’re at “top step” so Warwick is back to square one.
So the smells an awful lot like a PR gimmick to make the AFT look like its engaged in constructive discussion to help the budget crisis, when in fact it is probably a mechanism to enable some teachers to retire earlier than planned with no cost to them (or perhaps even more money to them)!

Frank
Frank
13 years ago

>> The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is asking the school department to seriously consider offering teachers a retirement incentive that they believe would save the department millions without compromising the quality of education.
Translation: Teachers with absolutely no actual work experience are just as competent as teachers with 20-30 years experience. Makes you wonder what we are paying for when a novice teacher at 30-40K, by the unions own admission, can do as good a job as a senior teacher at 70-80K. I can’t even imagine another profession that you could say the same thing about with a straight face.

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

>>>>The buyout plan would allow the district to reduce staff without violating their layoff clause, which only allows them to layoff 20 teachers per year. … Susan Taylor, of the Cincinnati, Ohio school district, a state and region that like Rhode Island, has undergone some difficult economic times in recent years, implemented a similar plan. Taylor said the plan was a huge success. Like many districts in Ohio, we were facing a declining enrollment, and a lack of monetary resources three years ago. Fortunately, the board of education was willing to work out a severance plan in a responsible way,” said Taylor.
Is Warwick enrollment declining like Ohio?
Why is the contract provision limiting layoffs to only 20 per year mentioned (not to mention why did the school committee ever agree to such a bone-headed provision in the first place)?
If the enrollment is declining faster than the ability to only layoff 20 teachers per year, then this appears to be a scheme to allow teachers that would be laid off anyway to cash in by retiring with a pension and cash in their pocket.
If the enrollment is not so declining and the “savings” comes from replacing those who take the retirement package with “Step 1” teachers, then the “savings” look pretty slim, if not illusory, for the reasons described in my first post.
Finally, of the 50-70,000 dollar payouts, does any of that amount get paid into the teachers “final” year paycheck and therefore goose their pension amount for the rest of their life (their pensions are calculated on their three highest consecutive years’ earnings – which of course are usually the final three years).
Taxpayers of Warwick beware.

Monique
Editor
13 years ago

Ditto what Frank said.
And doesn’t this proposal belie a graduated compensation structure based on longevity/experience?

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
13 years ago

Beware of unions bearing gifts. Those pigs know only one thing – and it ain’t giving up anything, it ain’t to help the taxpayers, it has absolutely nothing to do with helping the kids – it is getting more for doing less. Typical fat pigs; DO NOT TRUST THEM!

Anthony
Anthony
13 years ago

Teachers don’t collect on their pensions until they turn age 55.
Done, money saved.

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

>>Teachers don’t collect on their pensions until they turn age 55.
Wrong. The following quote is from the web site for the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island. Teachers hired before 07/01/95 can retire at any age with 28 years of service (note that it says “or” – which I capitalized in the quote).
So a teacher who started at 22 just out of college can retire after 28 years and start collecting a pension at age 50. Pretty sweet since most of us won’t be able to collect Social Security until 65-67.
http://www.ersri.org/public/help/faqs/#D
“If you are a state employee or public school teacher, you can retire with 28 years of service OR at age 60 with 10 years of contributing service service if you are in Schedule A (vested as of 7/1/05). Schedule B members (vested after 7/1/05) may retire at age 65 with 10 years of service, or at age 59 with 29 years of service.”

Anthony
Anthony
13 years ago

Tom W., umm I don’t know if you read my second line or not, but you missed the point.
My point was that raising the retirement age is a reasonable and easy way to save money (I wasn’t suggesting that the current retirement age was 55–the second line would make no sense if that were the case).

Laura Walker
Laura Walker
11 years ago

Finding a way to make teachers retire is clearly the only way that RI can recover from the economic downturn.

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