Akron is using federal Race to the Top money to double the retirement incentive for teachers from $500 to $1,000. So far, the district knows of 90 teachers who say they're retiring, about 20 to 25 more than usual, said human resources executive director Kathy McVey, who updated the Akron school board tonight on labor matters. It's too soon to say whether that will offset the 140 teaching jobs that must be eliminated for the next school year to avoid a $22 million deficit.
"We have to match up the people who are retiring with the openings that we'll have," McVey said. "We expect it will offset some of the layoffs that we have to do, but probably not all of them."
Meanwhile, the district is preparing to negotiate contracts with its six unions, whose current contracts expire June 30. The district has saved about $4.4 million over the last five years by negotiating health care issues separately. Teachers who once paid nothing toward health insurance premiums, for example, will begin paying a flat fee beginning this summer: $50 per month for a family and $25 for an individual policy. Teachers also have agreed to a $5 increased copay for name-brand drugs from $15 to $20.