JPS Board Approves Leave Incentives For District

In a potential attempt at cost savings, the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education approved leave incentives for teachers and principals in the district.

Officially termed Jamestown Teachers Association resignation incentive and Jamestown Principals Association resignation incentive, JPS Superintendent Bret Apthorpe added the items to the agenda at Tuesday’s board meeting. The incentives were approved by the board.

If any teachers elect to utilize the incentive, they will receive $25,000 in four payments over four years. If any principals elect to utilize the incentive, they would receive up to $10,000 over five years to supplement their health insurance premiums.

Apthorpe later elaborated to The Post-Journal that the goal is to offer employees in the district who want to leave the district and pursue other employment avenues a beneficial way out. The incentive will offer teachers and principals who may want to change their current employment a monetary supplement to essentially take leave from Jamestown to work in another district while continuing to add toward their retirement.

“You may have someone who has worked for 20 years who wants to do something else, but can’t because they don’t have the years,” Apthorpe said. “This is giving those sorts of folks an opportunity to leave and not retire and go work somewhere else.”

The potential teachers would be able to continue to add to their Teacher Retirement System, or TRS, in another environment while the district saves money by hiring a new teacher for less money. The same is true for the principal incentive.

The pension is based on the average of an employee’s three highest salary years. While the payout for taking the incentive will likely be lower than the most recent salary, it will not negatively impact a teacher’s overall pension once retired, Apthorpe said.

“It’s a win-win,” Apthorpe said. “It’s a win-win because the financial breakage. If we hire a teacher at $40,000 to replace a teacher who was making $90,000, we just saved $50,000, but it won’t work unless we have 15 teachers accept it.”

The district placed a 15-teacher minimum on its offer to ensure there will be a significant amount of savings from the deal. Those teachers also have to be on a certain pay step in order to qualify. Apthorpe said the salary of an eligible teacher is around $65,000.

There is no minimum number attached to the principal incentive because of the smaller pool of employees.

The district placed a May 15 deadline for teachers and principals to show interest in the incentive program.

“We did the math and that’s how we came up with the minimum,” Apthorpe said. “If we have a minimum of 15 who are at that step or higher, there will be a cost savings to the district.”