DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The crisis in the classroom has some school districts turning to incentives, like early retirement. The Dallas Independent School District’s board members are considering a proposal that would ask 1,000 teachers to retire. The measure will go before the Dallas Board of Trustees at Thursday’s board meeting.
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said that he supports the proposal. “It will help us lay off less people,” he explained. “If 1,000 people take this, then that’s 1,000 less we have to reduce on staffing.”
The Dallas school district is facing a shortfall upwards of $250 million next year, and estimates that as many as 3,700 jobs could be lost.
Here is how the proposed incentives would work. The first 1,000 contracted employees to apply, in writing, by March 11 would receive 15 percent of their annual base pay, not to exceed $10,000.
According to Rena Honea, president of Alliance AFT, an association which represents thousands of local teachers, the news of this incentive is causing quite a buzz among educators. “Many are excited that the district would consider what is thought to be a generous offer,” Honea said. “We’ve heard $1,000 [being offered] in some other districts, which is pretty minimal for someone who has 30 years experience.”
For those who question if the Dallas school district has the money to make good on this incentive, Hinojosa said that he expects a $20 million surplus in the current school year’s budget. That would help pay for the incentives.
Alliance AFT is concerned that the proposed incentive is only for employees with contracts. That includes teachers, but does not include other positions like custodians, maintenance workers and administrative assistants. “We think it would be a much more fair process where these people could be recognized and acknowledged, and go out with some respect,” Honea said.
The board meeting to discuss this topic is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Teachers have been asked to wear red on Thursday in support of making education a priority.