Colleagues,
Before the February recess, we met with Interim Superintendent Dan Lowergard and presented to the District a strong proposal for a Retirement Incentive for eligible members of the RTA Bargaining Unit. Teachers who are at least 55 years old upon retirement, and have at least five years of service with the Teachers Retirement System, would qualify. Under our proposal, the incentive would be $50,000 amortized over five years ($10,000 per year for five consecutive years).This would be in addition to whatever payments to retiring teachers for their unused Absenteeism Reduction Plan (Section 60 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement). In our proposal, we listed the following advantages of adopting such a Retirement Incentive:– The RCSD would accrue significant and ongoing savings.- The reduced personnel costs would reduce the structural deficit in the District’s budget.- The Retirement Incentive would avert, or at least minimize, the looming layoffs of approximately 150 teachers.- Retirements would represent an opportunity to further diversify the teacher ranks.

Interim Superintendent Dan Lowengard received our proposal with an open mind.He indicated that he would ask his staff to review our proposal and would discuss it with the Board of Education. We hope to get his response within a week or so. The District could accept our proposal, counter it, or reject the opportunity to offer a Retirement Incentive. To give the District more time to make a determination, and to give teachers more time to consider this potential opportunity, we proposed to the District that the current deadline to qualify for the Absenteeism Reduction Plan money be extended from March 1 to April 1. Unfortunately the District refused. Therefore, if you haven’t already done so, we are advising eligible teachers, who wish to protect their qualification for that money, to submit to the District’s Human Capital Initiatives department their letters of intent to retire by no later than this Friday, March 1. That letter is revocable until the Board of Education accepts the notice of retirement. After tomorrow’s meeting of the Board of Education, the next meeting is scheduled for March 14. We have also received an assurance from Superintendent Lowengard that all retiring teachers, including those who notified the District by March 1, would qualify for the Retirement Incentive if the District determines to offer it.

Please call the RTA Office (546-2681) if you need assistance with writing your retirement letter or have any questions or concerns. We will communicate with you again as soon as we receive a response from the District.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President