D.C. Public Schools has agreed to provide $1.7 million each year for the next six school years to provide early retirement benefits to teachers, The Washington Examiner has learned.
Andrea James, a spokeswoman for the Washington Teachers’ Union, said that on Tuesday night she received word that DCPS agreed to their terms on the issue as they negotiate a new contract.
Under the agreement, any permanent-status member of the teachers’ union who is rated “effective” or “highly effective” on evaluations will be eligible for early retirement benefits if they have worked for the school system for more than 20 years and their position is eliminated.
DCPS is eliminating 333 positions held by members of the teachers’ union for next school year. The school system expects that about 60 percent of the teachers, librarians and other staffers will find new placements in other schools, due to uneven needs at each campus.
Under the current contract terms, employees with tenure who don’t find new jobs, but have “effective” or higher ratings, can choose between a $25,000 buyout or a “grace year” with the school system. Otherwise, those without placements will be terminated in August.
Melissa Salmanowitz, a spokeswoman for Chancellor Kaya Henderson, said DCPS was "pleased."
"This agreement illustrates what can be achieved with thoughtful collaboration," she said in an emailed statement.
Last month, Washington Teachers' Union President Nathan Saunders told The Washington Examiner he was considering a lawsuit against the city over contract negotiations with DCPS, and had shared that information with City Administrator Allen Lew.
James said this agreement diffused that tension and a lawsuit is no longer imminent. She said she expects to release more information shortly.