C-A board attempts to curb layoffs with plan for voluntary severance

FLINT TWP. — Hoping to reduce the costs of pending layoffs, the Board of Education has approved a Severance Notification Incentive Plan to encourage eligible staff to voluntarily leave.

The plan is aimed at avoiding layoffs and costs associated with unemployment compensation, said Superintendent Bill Haley.

The incentive is a onetime payment of 10 percent of an employees base salary paid by the district into a qualified fund, Haley said. For an employee earning $50,000 a year, that payment would be $5,000.

“We have calculated that in every case, those payments would be substantially less than the unemployment costs we would incur if we had to go through layoffs and not absorb these cuts through attrition,” Haley said.

The board notified 22 teachers of potential layoffs last month but anticipates most will not be necessary. Staff reductions will be part of the proposed 2011-2012 budget the board will consider in June, Haley said. The district is looking at a $500 to $700 loss per pupil in state funding.

The Incentive Plan is a strategy the board has come up with to keep staff, avoid layoffs and reduce costs it would incur to unemployment compensation, Haley said.

To meet budget goals, the district set targeted numbers for different employee classifications. Twelve teachers would need to take the incentive, or six each from the maintenance, custodial and clerical divisions, Haley said.

But so far only the teacher’s incentive plan has been activated because that bargaining group has indicated there might be enough people eligible or interested.

Haley said the Incentive would be offered districtwide if other staff classifications – be it administrative, clerical, custodial, food service etc. -indicated they thought it would work for their group.

An authorization resolution approved at the board’s May 17 meeting said the Superintendent had negotiated terms of the Severance Notification Incentive Plan with the Carman-Ainsworth Education Association and that the plan is in compliance with guidelines for the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

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