BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore school system is trying to get its most experienced teachers to retire—now.
Kai Jackson explains why and how this could impact your child’s education.
The city school system seems to be making teachers an offer that’s hard to refuse, but some believe in the end, it will be students who pay the price.
Hundreds of Baltimore’s most seasoned teachers are expected to quit at the end of the year. Between 350 and 750 teachers with more than 10 years’ experience are being offered a lucrative buyout: 75 percent of their salary for five years.
Dr. Andres Alonso says it will save the district money.
“The salaries of more veteran teachers more than pay for the initiative in the difference between the top salaries and the salaries of new teachers,” he said.
But there is a downside.
“I don’t see how we avoid larger class sizes, not only in Baltimore but other districts across the state because of issues with funding education,” Alonso said.
In Baltimore, the schools face a $73 million budget shortfall, plus an additional $15 million in cuts from the state, if Governor Martin O’Malley’s budget proposal passes in the legislature.
The city teachers’ union, often at odds with the administration, likes this deal for teachers.
“These are difficult times,” said Marietta English, president of the teachers’ union.
English sees this as a financial win, expecting many members to find new jobs while collecting the buyout.
“At least this way the district has a clear idea of how many teachers are going to retire, which every year is a guesstimation of how many will retire,” English said.
Approximately 3,200 eligible teachers were notified about the plan. Administrators hope at least 750 take the offer.
Parents like Philicia Butler have concerns.
“I think it’s a bad thing for the students because I feel as though that the older teachers that are professional need to stay in the classroom,” Butler said.
The deadline to take the buyout is April 15. Teachers who take the buyout would be allowed to serve as substitutes.