East Providence’s Half-Million Dollar Compromise

Gina Macris‘ story in today’s Projo on a cost-saving early retirement plan for teachers in East Providence…

During the meeting, the committee approved the retirement of 15 veteran teachers who chose a midyear buyout, saving what school officials estimated will be nearly $1 million in salaries and benefits by the end of the fiscal year, Oct. 31….
With the retiring teachers’ last day expected on Friday, the School Department plans to replace them with retired teachers at substitute pay for the remainder of the school year. It expects to hire replacements in the fall at significantly less than the retiring teachers have been paid.
…doesn’t get the details quite correct.
Actually, most of the teachers who are officially retiring have volunteered to stay on as long-term substitutes, but because of state law have to be away from their jobs for 30 days before they can be re-hired. In return for retiring mid-year, the retirees will be allowed to participate in the healthcare plan specified in the expired 2005-2008 contract.
Already-retired former teachers will be used to fill the 30 day gap.
East Providence expects to realize an immediate $400,000 to $500,000 savings with this plan. Add to this the fact that this proposal was brought to the school system by the union (although union President Valerie Lawson didn’t seem too happy about the school committee accepting the offer), and it seems like we may have an honest-to-God compromise benefiting all sides on our hands here.
Click here for the audio of East Providence School Department Director of Human Resources Lonnie Barham’s official description of the plan.

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