Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teacher Buyouts? Budget Concerns vs. Losing Experienced Teachers

In an effort to offset budget shortfalls, Baltimore City Public Schools has offered a buy-out plan for up to 750 of its most experienced teachers. Teachers who have taught for more than 10 years can opt for an early-retirement package, which will pay 75% of a teacher’s current annual salary monthly, for a total of five years. Those who take the buyout will also get their regular pension at retirement age, but will not receive health benefits. BCPSS predicts a 73 million-budget deficit for next year, in addition to probably state budget cuts to education next year due to a change in the Thornton funding formula. BCPSS hopes to save 5-10 million from the buyout plan.

Andres Alonso, BCPSS CEO, defends the plan saying it will help avoid layoffs and also encourage expensive teachers, who may already have considered leaving the district, to do so, so the city can hire new teachers at a much cheaper price. He also says that by offering this plan, it will ensure there are more teachers who truly want to be teaching in the classroom, which insinuates that the teachers who accept the buyout are teachers who don’t really want to be there.

On the other hand, many parents are worried that BCPSS will lose many seasoned teachers, thus affecting their children’s education. Others have noted that spending for training and professional development for new, inexperienced teachers may mitigate the cost savings from the buyout and also may make it hard for schools to raise test scores with more inexperienced than experienced teachers in the classroom.

1 comment:

Caroline Glass said...

I haven't verified if this is true or not, but I heard rumor that teachers can be rehired in another district after 3 years if they take the buy-out. I met someone recently who was dissatisfied with Baltimore City, so they are planning to take the buy-out money and then get hired in a few years in the county. I know that this teacher is good, and the city is losing out by letting him go. I agree with the point you made that training new teachers to replace the ones leaving will probably offset any salary savings. If someone knows if this rumor about rehiring is true or not, please inform us!