By PAMELA ROBINSON, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Gainesville Independent School District board of trustees discussed and then approved by a 6-0 vote the voluntary and early resignation incentive agreement, with a $4,000 incentive payment, for the first 40 qualified district employees.
GISD Human Resources Director Lisa Suttle presented the “Voluntary Resignation and Early Resignation Notification Incentive Agreement,” to the board during a special meeting called Friday at noon.
The agreement is spelled out in a four-page document and those who choose to participate in the program must notify the Human Resources office and execute a voluntary exit agreement by 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1.
Qualifying positions for the incentive payment program are teacher, librarian, nurse, counselor, principal, assistant principal and central office director/coordinator/specialist.
GISD Board President Phil Adams said the purpose behind the resignation and incentive agreement is to receive early notification, to find out which employees won’t be here for the next school year.
The letter summarizing the advanced notification of resignation incentive reads: “The incentive payment program allows the district an earlier opportunity to begin forecasting the salary and benefit components of the 2011-2012 budget while affording the employee an incentive for notifying the district of his or her plan earlier than normal. Additionally, the program provides campuses extra planning time for staffing, planning teaching assignments and preparing course offerings for students.”
Teachers can resign up to 45 days before the school year starts.
Suttle confirmed the district needs to know as soon as possible to plan for the next school year.
“It’s necessary for us to determine the staffing positions that we are going to need and based on all the budget cuts, obviously it’s going to be necessary for school districts across the state of Texas to reduce their personnel costs as 85 percent of the budget is based on personnel, for us to make a difference and reduce our budget and meet the needs based on the reductions from the state, personnel is the easiest way to do that,” Suttle said. “We want to be able to make the decisions, what positions we’ll have next year and who will staff those positions and to do that, we need to know which of our employees are going to be here with us next year and that will help us to determine what positions are reduced.”
Adams asked for an estimate of how many employees may be included in the reduction.
“Based on the $1.2 million we are going to need (for the budget cut), we’re going to be looking anywhere from 25 to 30 or more positions,” Suttle said. “It may be more than that.”
Adams explained the district has about 64 to 65 teachers that are on probationary contracts.
“Rather than not renew those contracts, which is the only way we have to cut at this time, by putting this incentive plan in, that will keep us from having to do a non-renewal on all of them and then try to hire them back,” Adams said. “It will help these people know that they will have a job. That’s why we’re doing this. What it will really do is give us an indication or help us keep the good teachers that we have without laying them off and then hiring them back.
“If these people are going to be leaving, this is an incentive for them to tell us now...rather than just carte blanche laying off 64 people.”
Adams said the agreement is not just for retirees but also for the people who are moving to another district, taking a job somewhere else, or making other plans.
Suttle said the earlier notification will help in planning and be a benefit to the principals to know who they have to talk to and how to plan their master schedules.
Suttle said instead of a letter of resignation, an employee would sign the agreement and it will be approved by the superintendent.
There is a revocation period to the agreement that for a period of seven days following the execution of the agreement in which the employee may revoke the agreement by delivering a written letter expressing their intent to revoke the agreement to the superintendent of schools.
The agreement also includes clauses for rehire limitation and participation in the group health benefits.
During the meeting trustees discussed the incentive amount from between $2,000 and $4,000 and what amount other districts are offering before taking a vote.
Board member Mary Hunter made a motion to set the incentive amount at $4,000 and board member Will Presson seconded the motion for the 6-0 vote.
During the meeting, GISD Interim Business Manager Tom Zimmerer also addressed the board on some points. Zimmerer gave board members a budget update during Monday’s regular meeting, informing them of the budget situation and the need to make cuts.
Following the vote, trustees went into executive session but took no action and made no comment following the session in which they were scheduled to discuss personnel matters.
Board member Tommy Moore was not present at the meeting.