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Incentives given for early notice

Profile image for By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer
By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer

Two districts reward employees who plan departure in advance

Hoping to get a leg up on hiring for the next school year, two area school districts are offering incentives to teachers and other employees who give early notice that they will be leaving their jobs.

The Lake Dallas and Pilot Point school boards approved action earlier this month that offers incentives to district employees who give early notice of a planned retirement or resignation. Officials in the Krum district say they intend to discuss the issue this spring.

This is the fourth year the incentive has been offered in Lake Dallas ISD. On Jan. 13, school board members voted 7-0 to pay $1,000 each to the first 20 full-time professionals on contract, and $500 to the first 20 full-time paraprofessional and auxiliary support employees, who submit a resignation letter in person by 4 p.m. March 7.

The incentive is paid to employees who complete their contract terms and work the remainder of the school year. Lake Dallas has set aside $30,000 for incentives, officials said.

“We’re not trying to get rid of anybody,” board President Lance Stacy said. “We’re just trying to get a head start on filling positions for the upcoming academic year.”

In the last three years, the district has spent $17,000, $12,000 and $13,500, respectively, in incentive payouts.

According to the Texas Education Code, teachers may resign at the end of a school year without penalty if they submit a resignation in writing to the school board or a board designee no later than 45 days prior to the first day of instruction for the new school year.

They may also resign at any other time with the consent of the school board or a board designee, according to state law.

The incentive pay allows the Lake Dallas school district to begin recruiting early for the next school year and fill vacant staff positions earlier, said Wes Eversole, deputy superintendent and chief financial officer.

“It has been a successful program because we’re able to determine who’s going to leave us, who’s going to go elsewhere,” he said. “Us along with the [school] board understand that the more time that we have to recruit allows us the time to find the best and brightest employees out there.”

School board members in Pilot Point on Jan. 15 approved an early notice resignation incentive that offers a one-time payment of $200 to eligible employees who submit a resignation or retirement letter between Feb. 17 and Feb. 28.

“The use of district funds in this manner serves a public purpose in assisting in the planning for the 2014-2015 school year,” Nikki Hamblin, the district’s business manager, said in an e-mail response to questions. “Early notice allows the district to have greater planning opportunities when making staffing decisions and helps the district to have more time to find the best possible candidate for a vacated position.”

Employees who will be eligible for the incentive include all active, full-time employees eligible for benefits and the state Teacher Retirement System. The employees must complete the current school year and will be recommended for future employment by their supervisor, Hamblin said.

Krum ISD, which has offered employee incentives in the past, will discuss the issue later this spring, said Superintendent Cody Carroll. Currently there are no plans to offer incentives, he said.

Officials with the Denton, Aubrey and Sanger school districts said they’ve previously offered incentives but have no plans to do so this year. Argyle and Ponder superintendents said their districts have not offered incentives in the past and don’t intend to offer them this year.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.