Buffalo School Board Offer Retirement Incentive

March 30, 2011 Updated Mar 31, 2011 at 8:36 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

March 30, 2011 Updated Mar 31, 2011 at 8:36 AM EDT

New figures on the state budget put the Buffalo School District's state aid loss at $3.6 million. So, it's looking for any way it can to make up the missing cash. The Buffalo School Board has voted to offer some of its senior teachers and administrators a retirement incentive.

"We are looking at the possibility of many layoffs coming up with the budget deficits and where they are. We thought it would be cost effective for the district as a whole to put together an early retirement incentive package like we did last year," said Ralph Hernandez, Buffalo School Board president.

Last year's incentive was a state program that increased the amount of money a retiree received each month. "So, if we can incentivize some of our more senior members to opt for retirement, and give them a bonus to do so, then we will have more latitude to hold on to the younger...next generation of teachers and administrators," remarked school board member Chris Jacobs.

About 400 of the districts 3400 teachers are eligable. 23 administrators can take advantage of the program. Retiring teachers would receive 10,000 dollars to leave. Administrators would be eligable for between 12,500 dollars and 20,000 dollars, depending on how many chose to retire. "Given our current budget situation and the projected staff reductions that we would have to make to balance the budget, we feel that offering an incentives is both good for the district and hopefully the employees. It would reduce the number of layoffs we would be forced to make," explained Barbara Smith, the chief financial officer of the district.

Board member Chris Jacobs wants to see the state tackle more than just the financial aspects of what affects a school budget. "I really hope they get back to work after this budget and talk more about reform. Mandate relief...reform our archaic state laws that really hinder us from making a 21st century school district. And, that's what we need," Jacobs said. Employees have to decide by April 30th if they want to take advantage of the offer.