May 6, 2013

Portland seeks deal to save school jobs

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

Today's poll: Portland school budget

Should the Portland teachers union make some contract concessions in order to avoid staff cuts?

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RETIREMENT INCENTIVE

Casasa, the union president, also believes the school district should continue to offer a retirement incentive, as it has for nearly a decade. The incentives are intended to produce turnover savings when higher-paid veteran teachers are replaced with younger teachers.

But Caron said it's difficult to say how much the district has been saving through incentives, because the district doesn't know how many teachers would have retired without them.

"The last two years, I have been increasingly skeptical about whether or not it's having the intended effect," Caron said. "The board is wondering whether it's an incentive or more of a bonus-type program."

But Casasa said the math is simple. There are more than 100 teachers eligible for retirement and 30 have already expressed interest in a retirement incentive paid out over four years. Last year the district paid a $20,000 incentive over four years.

Without an incentive, only five teachers say they plan to retire, she said.

Casasa said if a teacher earning $72,000 a year retires and is replaced with a teacher at the district's starting pay of $32,000, then the district could restore 15 positions while also saving between $1 million and $1.5 million a year.

If the position goes unfilled, the savings would be even greater, she said.

"We're trying to be good partners, but we are asking management to be a good partner, too, and live up to the terms of our agreement and work with us in some other way," Casasa said.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @randybillings

 

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Today's poll: Portland school budget

Should the Portland teachers union make some contract concessions in order to avoid staff cuts?

Yes

No

View Results