Thursday, March 22, 2007

Buyouts. Short term gimmick, long term loss

The latest from Pinckney Schools: From the Argus

Officials in Pinckney Commu-nity Schools are proposing buyouts for teachers to retire early to address a projected $1.5 million budget deficit for the 2007-2008 school year.
The Pinckney Education Association teachers' union is surveying the interest of educators at the top of the district's salary scale in potential buyout packages.

The district would like to offer early re-tirement packages to at least eight teachers with at least 10 years of cumulative teaching experience, Superintendent Dan Danosky said.

"We'd like to have more, but we think it would be practical for us to do it if we have eight people who have interest," Danosky said. "Expenses are going up, with the little revenue coming in from the state."
If no teachers show interest in buyout packages, layoffs will become inevitable for the 2007-2008 school year, Danosky said.

This is an old gimmick which has been used for years. Personally, I never cared much for buyout packages. While it reduces costs short term, long term costs increase through pensions and medical, and there are less experienced teachers in the district. The new teachers brought in will be paid much more through the step increases (at least in many districts, not sure with Pinckney) down the line, and retirements and pensions will have to be paid as well.

I think there needs to be major structural reform among our local districts (as well as the state). Health Care, Retirements, Administration costs, Extra funding outside of taxes. I think considation needs to be looked at as well, reducing administration costs (I believe most Superintendents are overpaid).

Many bash the teacher unions on this. Many bash administrators. I disagree with that premis. The union reps are doing what they are hired to do, as do administrators. These are contractual matters. The board agrees and/or disagrees with the proposal. Contracts are two way streets. The buck stops with the board.

This is why our school board elections are so important. We need to make sure good people who understand finances, have backbones, and have strong leadership are elected. The days of 3% turnouts need to end.

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