In response to a proposal initially made by the Arlington teachers’ union, and after considerable consultation with many affected parties and experts, the members of the Arlington legislative delegation (Senator Donnelly, Reps. Garballey and Kauffman and myself) have developed and committed to support the amendment appearing below to the municipal relief bill. It will be debated next week.
The effect of the amendment is to permit cities and towns to elect to allow teachers to participate in the early retirement incentive (“ERI”) authorized by the municipal relief bill. The municipality would pay the costs of ERI to the state teachers retirement system over a ten year period.
A school committee would make this election if it had determined that it had to cut its school budget. Depending on the salary structure of the school department, the department might save more by allowing a smaller number of senior teachers to retire than it would by laying off a larger number junior teachers. In the right conditions, the ERI could be a win for taxpayers, kids and teachers.
The municipal relief bill has a number of controls built into it, including controls on rehiring and use of sick time. For the full text of the bill, click here — go to section 11.
Below appears the language of the amendment that the Arlington delegation has crafted.
Mr. Brownsberger of Belmont moves that the bill, H4618, be amended in Section 11, subsection (a) by striking the second sentence thereof which provides that “Teachers, as defined by section 1 of chapter 32, who are members of the teachers’ retirement system as well as teachers who are members of the State-Boston retirement system shall not be considered “employees” for purposes of this section and
shall not be eligible to participate in the municipal early retirement program established under this section.”
Section 11 is further amended by inserting the following additional subsection (j):
(j) By a vote of the school committee and with the further approval of the municipal chief executive officer as provided in subsection (b) of this section, members of the state teachers’ retirement system and teachers employed by the City of Boston who are members of the State-Boston retirement system shall be eligible for an early retirement incentive in accordance with the provisions of this section; provided, however, that no member shall benefit from both the incentive established by this section and the allowances provided for in subdivision 4 of Section 5 of Chapter 32 unless the school committee and the municipal chief executive officer explicitly permit this in their approval. In the event that a municipality offers the incentives of this section to members of the state teachers’ retirement system or teachers employed by the City of Boston who are members of the State-Boston retirement system, the municipality shall reimburse the appropriate retirement system for all actuarially determined costs resulting from the members’ choices made under this subsection, in equal installments over a ten year period starting in the next fiscal year as determined by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission. As to positions vacated by members electing to receive both the incentives of this section and the allowances provided for in subdivision 4 of Section 5 of said Chapter 32, the percentage applicable in subsection (e) of this section shall be zero in Fiscal 2011.
House action on the amendment: It was not accepted by leadership and so it had to be pulled out and contested. It went down, but by a relatively close vote — 87 to 69 for a further amendment killing the amendment.
The rationale offered against the underlying idea didn’t seem to make seem sense — the stated concern was that it might create a shortage of teachers. In all of my conversations with a variety of education advocates on this bill, no one had previously expressed this concern.
Senate Action on the amendment: Offered by Senator Donnelly and adopted! So, the amendment will go to conference!
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