The Boardman Board of Education expects to save $6.8 million over the next three years by not replacing 29 employees who took early-retirement incentives.
Two administrators and 27 teachers have opted to retire, and the board will act on their resignations May 23, said Superintendent Frank Lazzeri.
The plan responds to state funding cuts and will enable the district “to lower operational costs for the district without the removal of academic programs, through attrition as opposed to layoffs,” according to a news release from the board.
The retirement incentive averaged $25,000 per teacher and “... even after you subtract out the incentive, it still came out to be the $6.8 million savings over three years,” Lazzeri said.
“We probably would have lost twice as many teachers through a reduction in force,” he said.
“We appreciate the dedication of senior teachers, but they do make more money than starting teachers. If we would have done a reduction in force, you’re reducing through ... laying off new teachers by seniority,” he continued.
Between 50 and 60 teachers with up to five or six years of experience could have been laid off, Lazzeri said. Starting salary for a teacher is $31,963 annually, he said.
No school programs will be eliminated this fall through this reduction, according to the release. However students and parents will see larger class sizes, fewer elective classes and more online course offerings.
Lazzeri has said state cuts to the Boardman district would be the highest of any school system in the tri-county area.
“Based on the latest simulations provided by the Ohio Department of Budget and Management, the Boardman schools can anticipate losing 5.3 percent of our total general fund revenue ($2,148,510) in fiscal year 2012 and 5.9 percent ($2,380,650) in fiscal year 2013,” he said at the beginning of April.
The board’s statement said cuts in state funding represent $9.8 million since 2008, and the financial loss from students leaving to attend charter schools, open enrollment, and the Autistic Scholarship Program represent an additional $7.5 million in the past eight years.
When asked if the board is considering placing an additional school levy in an upcoming election, Lazzeri said: “I can’t answer that. That’s the board’s decision.”