By Sara Scott
Jackson Public Schools may offer an early buyout plan to district support staff, including secretaries, teacher assistants, bus drivers and maintenance workers. Jackson offered a similar buyout proposal to teachers and administrators last year. The teacher buyout is expected to save the district $4.5 million over the next 10 years. The savings results from replacing staff who are at or near the top of the pay scale with new hires near the bottom.
When the issue was first brought up last year, the district had originally considered offering the deal to all of its employees. However, officials decided to wait until this year to offer the plan to support staff. Acting Superintendent William Hannon said the proposal will be up for discussion at the Dec. 7 school board meeting. A decision would likely be made at the next meeting on Dec. 14.
If it is approved, the district would likely partner with Educators Preferred Corp., a consulting organization that specializes in buyouts. EPC earns a specified amount for each employee who opts in to the program. Most buyout proposals follow a similar procedure. The teachers and administrators, for example, were offered their 1997-98 salary in monthly payments over the next 10 years. The payments could not exceed $417 a month. When the support staff was considered for the buyout last year, EPC officials estimated 57 of the roughly 380 support staff would take it. That could save the district as much as $764,000. "Im not sure yet if were going to limit it to union members or if other support staff will be eligible as well," said Hannon. A small percentage of support staff do not belong to the unions, including the secretaries in central office.
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