- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - The Davenport School Board has approved early retirement incentives for teachers in hopes of saving $1.5 million in next year’s budget by replacing higher-paid teachers with less experienced, lower-paid teachers.

The school board voted 6-1 Monday to offer the deal to nearly 270 eligible teachers, a move that could also save another $1.5 million the next two years, the Quad-City Times (https://bit.ly/1z2XCJQ ) reported.

Staff eligible for the offer must be at least 55 years old by June 30, have been with the district for a minimum of 25 years and work at least six hours a day. They have until February to notify the district.

Board member Maria Dickmann, who cast the lone “no” vote, said she preferred a plan proposed by the Davenport Education Association, which lowered the number of required years from 25 to 20.

Board member Bill Sherwood said he believes the early retirement incentives may only be a “short-term” fix to the district’s budget problems. The board needs to cut between $3.5 million and $4.5 million a year for the next three years to build up its unspent spending authority balance to $8 million.

Sherwood said he’d like to see the district and the education association to continue discussions in developing a plan to address the budget issue.

UnivServ director Toby Paone of the Iowa State Education Association said he was pleased the board made a decision.

“This is just one piece of the budget puzzle,” Paone said. “It’s an important piece, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just one piece, so there’s miles to go before we sleep.”

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Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com


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