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April 22 • 06:48 AM
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Imlay offers buyouts to thwart layoffs



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February 25, 2009
IMLAY CITY — A seemingly clear cut equation has been created by the school district—the extent of future teacher layoffs will be dependent on how many teachers choose to take a $40,000 severance package.

Beginning March 9, teachers with more than ten years in the Imlay City district can take advantage of the package which will be paid out over a five year period.

The offer is part of a new teachers contract the school board agreed upon at Monday's meeting.

"This will help our budget in the short term," Superintendent Gary Richards said.

"It's a proactive program to help reduce the number of layoffs and budget cuts we'll have to make for the next school year."

The school district will contract with the Educators Preferred Corporation to administer the program. Officials with the company will beginning meeting with interested teachers on March 9. They'll have until April 24 to accept the offer. Those who choose to take the buyout have until May 1 to rescind their decision.

School Board President Beth Murawski said it was a hard decision to go ahead with the buyout offer.

"But it's in our best interest to save people's jobs too," she said.

Rick Finkbeiner, vice president of the teachers union, said he was pleased to see the contract signed. It was due to expire this June.

Richards said the two year contract also calls for a one percent wage increase per year and allows teachers to advance on the salary schedule.

In other school board business:

•Amendments to the 2008-09 budget were approved. Most notably, the district plans not to dip into their fund balance savings as deeply as originally thought. With fewer expenditures and additional revenue, they only plan to use $668,000 instead of $951,000 to balance the budget.

Obviously good news for the district, Richards attributes it to "building principals and department directors being extremely frugal."

•Richards received a favorable evaluation from the school board and was granted a one year extension to his contract which now runs through 2012.

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