Paoli teachers offered incentives to leave early in attempt to r - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Paoli teachers offered incentives to leave early in attempt to reduce payroll by nearly $1 million

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PAOLI, Ind. (WDRB) -- Paoli Community Schools Corporation has to reduce payroll by $972,000 for next year’s budget, which means in a school with just over 1,400 students and 91 teachers, nine teachers would have to leave.

“I would say the morale is not real good,” Interim Superintendent Gerald Jackson said.  

After being retired for two years as superintendent of West Washington Schools, Jackson became interim superintendent at Paoli in July. He faces the task of creating a program to get teachers to retire and offer them incentives to do so.

“We offered them $10,000 to go home at the end of the school year,” Jackson said.

Other plans include paying a percentage of their salary and insurance depending on if the teacher leaves at midterms or as early as Saturday.

“The bad part about leaving now is you'd leave the children," he said. "And I appreciate them for not wanting to do that. I really must."

But Jackson said if that doesn't work, some teachers will need to be let go.

“We'll do it as humanely and kindly as we can," he said. "There isn't anyone that'll tell you it's fun to do away with someone's job."

With fewer teachers, class sizes will also increase from an average of 17.7 students to about 20 students per class. Jackson blames the problem on the economy, teachers working longer and dropping enrollment.

“Money is directly tied to the student," Jackson said. "The day the student leaves, the day you lose the money."

Currently, the school is dipping into its rainy day fund of $811,000, which continues to dwindle.

“My job is to get us back in black in the general fund," Jackson said. "That's the one you’re supposed to pay people out of."

Jackson himself once worked for Paoli schools, teaching agriculture for more than 20 years.

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