Saturday, June 20, 2020

Teacher Buyout! ... ?

Buckle up.

Cuomo's departure from his daily COVID briefings allows him and the state's top leaders to focus on the other pressing issues of government. Those issues include long overdue social justice, finding a way to grow the economy after the COVID collapse and finding ways to plug to the $61 Billion dollar hole in the state budget. The governor still has huge emergency powers at his disposal and will probably decide each and every item associated with these challenges himself (and he'll be doing it behind closed doors and away from the press).


One such item that must be decided? A buyout: An Early Retirement Incentive for NYS, and in particular, NYC  teachers. The UFT president indicated that every single public employees union in New York City has asked for an early retirement incentive this year in order to help balance the New York budget and avoid any layoffs (retirement shifts a teacher's salary burden from the budget to the pension system, thus alleviating the burden on the budget). Early retirement is absolutely not a guarantee and almost any talk about it would be a little distracting. But a quick look back into history, just to review how both of those incentives looked, is definitely worth a. little time.

(I used the NY Times website to look these up. You may need to be logged in to view these links).


Two Buyouts

There were two early retirement incentives during the 1990s. One was offered in 1991 and another in 1995. These could serve as pretty good points of reference because both came as a result of enormous city and state governments budget deficits similar to what the city and state are facing today.

1991

In 1991, an early retirement incentive was offered to any teacher who was 55 years old *or* had 30 years of experience. Those folks (and only those folks) were able to get three years of retirement credit added to their pension. Teachers had just 4 weeks -between June 5th to July 5th-  to decide to retire by September. Here's what the Times wrote about it back then:

"Under the retirement plan, teachers who are at least 55 years old or have at least 30 years of service who choose to retire by July 5 can have a maximum of three extra years of service added to their pensions.
... A 55-year-old elementary school teacher who worked for 25 years would, upon retirement, normally get 50 percent of her last year's salary plus 1.7 percent more for each year of service beyond her 20th. Thus her pension would amount to 58.5 percent of her last year's salary...
With the incentive, the teacher would get credit for three more years at 1.7 percent a year -- a total of to 63.6 percent of her final year's salary."

That buyout eventually lead "... 4,200 teachers and 700 principals and supervisors ..." to retire early -about 8% of the teaching corps and just over 12% of the money used to pay teachers (because, don't forget, old teachers cost more to pay). It led to some teaching vacancies the following Fall.

But it's worth noting that this also led to an increase in the number of school leaders who were women and who were persons of color and, to that end, represented a very real turning point in the process of who led city schools. Eventually, the city did hire roughly 2000 new teachers for the Fall and that helped to create a younger teaching corps for the city. (A younger teaching corps in our time of 2020 would almost certainly guarantee the creation of a more diverse teaching corps; more folks who are persons of color and less folks who are white). 



The 1995 buyout was open to anyone who was over 50 and had at least 10 years of experience

"Under the plan, retirees get an extra month of service credit for each year they have worked, up to a maximum of three years. A teacher who had worked for 24 years could take the incentive and walk away with two extra years of credit toward the pension [retiring with 26 years of service toward their pension]. So far, those who have are taking early retirement are typically 55 or older, make about $60,000 and have at least 20 years of experience, board officials said."
While open to anyone over 50, the buyout was really geared toward anyone who was older than 55 and had at least 25 years in the system. It just didn't make much sense for very many others to take advantage of. The 1995 buyout agreement came along with a guarantee of no layoffs for three years and it's estimated that around 3,200 teachers took it. We have a much younger teaching corps in 2020. It would be interesting to see if something like this would work.


There are other issues to think about as well. Both incentives came during a budget climate that left both city schools and the teacher union with deep scars that lasted for more almost a decade.

Also; both buyouts saw teachers who did not qualify for the incentive return to a very difficult environment in schools. With no budget money beyond basic salaries and very little opportunities for the children they teach beyond regular classes (which, themselves, were badly underfunded), the following school years held little prospect for anything beyond the bare minimum of educating. I don't suffer bare minimum very well and many teachers who work well into the night don't either.

In both cases, the teachers who were left also faced the very real possibility of painful layoffs. In order to avoid layoffs in 1991, teachers voted to take a pay cut of 1.5% of their salaries, in the form of  a loan, to help the system balance its budget. That money was to be paid back in later years. In 1995, the UFT negotiated a no layoff agreement for three years, but then negotiated a contract for 0% wage increases and faced a near insurrection from among their members as a result. All that for no layoffs (and, in 1991, for the guarantee that the buyout would be supported by the head of the NYC school system).

And there was other fallout. In 1995 (a year that was, surely, a mess for city schools), the UFT was left with a large portion of angry teachers who, not qualifying for the buyout offer, became more active within the union. Many of those teachers organized a "vote no" campaign against that 0% contract -and won. At the end of the day, the budget woes caused the largest (by number) and longest (by years) anti-leadership movement in the teacher union's history. That movement has still not settled down to this day. That's how deep the damage was in 1995.

So, if a buyout is offered in 2020 -and it may not be offered at all- it may resemble either of these incentives. Would either of these work for you? Neither of them work for me.

If you were you around during the 1991 or 1995 incentives and feel like I missed something, drop a comment and let me know. I'll update in the main section.


70 comments:

  1. I dont see a buyout happening right now- maybe the summer of 2021?
    the timing is off- betwenn covid19, end of school year, no real way to spread the message quickly, social distancing to handle the consultaions, and paperwork- looks like many will be going back for another school year-but given time to allow people to process and sort info- i could see this happen next summer.

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    Replies
    1. This is the perfect time for the State/City to offer a buyout.

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    2. The buyout has been approved for 2021 already but hasn't been announced yet.

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  2. My buddy, who’s big in NYC politics, just notified me NYS will be offering early retirement incentives to all civil service employees. However, it has to be hammered out with the unions in NYC. There are huge cuts for all NYC entities on the near horizon. Folks are looking at the DOE budget and it’s results. It will be gutted. It is seen as an example of everything that is wrong with deBlasio’s NYC. Carranza, his amigos and Bloomy’s feral fiends better get out now.

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  3. We need a "20 and out" pension like NYC cops. They get a 50% pension after 20 years of service regardless of age. I heard a rumor that an offer like that came up once for us but Weingarten shot it down because the city wanted to eliminate our TDA for the deal. Not sure if it is true or not. However, we do need a "20 and out" deal more than ever.

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  4. 22 yrs in, 58 yo....add three years pension credit and the few senior teacher that are left will run for the doors.

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  5. There is a bill under consideration in the Senate which is more inclusive than some of the others, allowing for some teachers at age 50 with 10 years in to be eligible for early retirement. From Part A: "If not otherwise
    eligible for a service retirement, the following person shall be  deemed
    to satisfy the eligibility condition of this section: a person who is at
    least  age fifty with ten or more years service as of the effective date
    of retirement": https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s8599

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    1. I'm 50 with 30.5 years of service. I have not heard of the age requirement being lowered to 50 years of service. Where can I find out more about that?

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    2. I'm 50 with 30.5 years of service. I have not heard of the age requirement being lowered to 50 years of service. Where can I find out more about that?

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    3. The buyout has been approved for 2021 already but hasn't been announced yet.

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  6. I thought it was all NY state employees, that falls under ny state retirement fund. Would it include all NY state employees?

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  7. Personally, I would take it in a heart beat! I’m 64 and will be 65 in November. I love my job, and made personal plans to retire after turning 65, at the end of the school year, but am considering going to 66, which would allow SS to kick In immediately atbend if school year. If I was offered 3 or 4 years pension credit to retire now, There is no way I would refuse! As for eliminating the TDA as an option for the teachers behind me, Don’t Do It!! There was a time where what you saved was matched by DOE, that ended a few years before I became a NYC teacher unfortunately! Teacher use to retire with a million dollars big that chose to. Those days are over I guess!

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    Replies
    1. how many tears are you working. I am at it for 30. i didn't switch to this "easy" job later in life

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  8. Anyone have any updates on this possible buyout?

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    Replies
    1. The buyout has been approved for 2021 already but hasn't been announced yet.

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  9. I would take buyout as this is a second career and I’ll be 62 with 10 years.

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  10. I would take buyout as this is a second career and I’ll be 62 with 10 years.

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    Replies
    1. The buyout has been approved for 2021 already but hasn't been announced yet. You qualify under Part A.

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  11. What about your medical insurance are you still entitled if you take an early retirement.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!!! I cannot tell you how many calls I have made, and no answers. But the union is fighting for you!!!

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    2. You must have 15 years of service for you to get medical benefits from the UFT.

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  12. I would take a buyout anytime.

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    Replies
    1. The buyout has been approved for 2021 already but hasn't been announced yet.

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  13. I would absolutely take a buyout. I have 28 years and am 63 yrs old. Heard without the stimulus money there will be layoffs. A buyout makes sense.

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    Replies
    1. The buyout has been approved for 2021 already but hasn't been announced yet. You qualify with no penalty.

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  14. I would take a buyout. Does anyone have information on a buyout for Aug 2020?

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    Replies
    1. The buyout has been approved for 2021 already but hasn't been announced yet.

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  15. Please give us a buyout! i'm 55 29 yrs teaching.

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    Replies
    1. The buyout has been approved for 2021 already but hasn't been announced yet. You qualify under Part B with no penalty.

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  16. Hoping that a buyout is presented and fits my parameters. I would absolutely choose to take it at this time.

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  17. Hoping that a buyout is presented and fits my parameters. I would absolutely choose to take it at this time.

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  18. any info on a buyout for older teachers??????

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  19. Any updates on the progress and/or likelihood of this? It's August 26. I am 56, with 23 and a half years of service (with a half years worth of sick days too). I do not want to go back to get infected and then infect my family. Also, topic change: if there is no buyout and I have to go back, will I be able to sue the DOE and City when I become infected?

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  20. How about a 50/20 buyout? Anyone with at least 20 years of service who is 50 or older can retire without penalty

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    Replies
    1. NYCTRS has 99.1 BILLION in cash they don't spend. They better come up with a better deal than that!

      Unless they extend it by a year, I won't qualify.

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    2. Would take it in a heartbeat.

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    3. Count me in and a few others I know!!

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  21. Please help. What do I need to do to keep my health benefits as a vested employee with over 21 years in the system, and take a deferred retirement? I made numerous phone calls, and the only answer I was able to get from HR connect as a NYC DOE Teacher vested you can keep your health benefits.

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    Replies
    1. I have been out for years but as far as I know you cannot defer retirement and keep health benefits. Maybe it has changed.

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  22. i am ready to take a buyout. I will have 23-years in December

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  23. The question is, can the city afford to lose so many teachers when we have a huge shortage? Unless they grant those same teachers access to work F status and that too only for remote learning so they are safe. Then again that maybe too complicated for this Mayor and Chancellor.

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  24. Not considering a good buyout would be insanity by government. The only way to come close to balancing the budget is to shift educators to the pension system, and thus replace with younger, less highly compensated people. The fact that bills are stalled is just another demonstration of government incompetance.

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  25. Have there been any updated talks about a buyout?

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  26. Save older workers lives by allowing them to retire and save the jobs of the next generation...35 years in is a life time..

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  27. Any news on when this buyout will happen?

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  28. In for 25 years, would take it.

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  29. I am 67 with almost 22 years service (second career) and would accept a decent buyout- a full pension!

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    Replies
    1. You are eligible for the newly approved buyout under Part A.

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  30. 20 years and out, unreduced? ::Fingers crossed::

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  31. I have 28 years and will be 55 this summer. Word is Cuomo will consider a buyout. First year he said he would entertain this idea. The only thing holding it back is the teacher shortage.

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    Replies
    1. Yes but when a teacher retires especially with 20 years or more, you can hire two in his place AND we can get the teachers out of ATR then also.

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    2. You are eligible for the newly approved "unannounced" buyout for 2021.

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  32. I'm 53 years old with 29 years of service. I would take a buy out.

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    Replies
    1. You would be eligible for the new 2021 buyout under Part A, but you will pay a penalty.

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  33. 20 and out...please

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  34. I am hoping fora buy out. I am 52 and have 26yrs. I would definitely walk away, if I qualify.

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  35. I am 55 and have 21 years in at the end of this year. But I bought into 55/25 so would i be eligible since I only have 4 years left?

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  36. I'm 61 now, and would be 62 next Oct-01, which is considered max age for the NYCDOE. If I retire I would still be reduced because I am now completing 22 yrs of service. I'm in Tier 4 (55/30). I would absolutelty take a buy-out.

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  37. Is there any update on a buyout? Will they reduce the 25/55 in order to buy high salaries out?

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  38. I’m 59 with 13 years of service and stupidly opted into the 55/25 plan because I was not advised at all. Yes, this is a change of life job for me. Would I qualify for the buyout? Currently, I have to wait until I am 62 to retire.

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  39. I am 59 with 13 years of service. This is my second career. I currently have to wait until 62 to retire. Not sure if I would qualify for this buyout.

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  40. I am 59 with 13 years of service. This is my second career. I currently have to wait until 62 to retire. Not sure if I would qualify for this buyout.

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  41. A buyout deal has been approved for 2021! There are 2 parts to the deal. Part A is for employees who are at least 50 years of age with at least 10 years of service, and you can earn an additional month of service credit for each year you've worked up to 36 months. Unfortunately, there is a 6% penalty per year for the first 2 years before the age of 62 and 3% per year thereafter.

    Part B is more straightforward. Members who are 55 or older with more than 25 years of service can retire without penalty.

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  42. I am 52 years old and have 26 years of service. I would definitely,take a buy out.

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  43. I think I might fall short. I'm 49 with 21 years of service.

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  44. If you really want to leave, I know you how you feel. Am not even teacher but things have changed so drastically that you don't feel like sticking around. Hope it works out for all. Good Luck and be safe.

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  45. is it done or not simple answer...................

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