Friday, July 3, 2020

That Buyout? Probably Not Gonna Happen

In my last few posts I wrote about a possible piece of legislation that may, actually, make it through the legislature to offer an early retirement incentive for teachers. These buyout ideas are always long shots, but this bill had multiple co sponsors, was introduced in both houses on the same day and had other indications buried in the wording that made it look like a real contender to be signed by the governor.

That was all before New York City finalized and ratified its budget. 

The budget -which was rumored to carry deep cuts to schools- fixed its eyes on the NYPD and on central administration for much of the cuts to education. The only way schools were directly hit were that FSF remained flat instead of growing with inflation and the rise in teachers salaries. That hurts, there is little doubt. But the majority of cuts came from non school based services.

And the mayor indicated he would seek cuts of only $1 Billion from city employees and would work with unions in order to do so. That's steep/ But it is not so Earth shattering as to require a special law allowing employees to retire early. The final analysis of the budget seems to point to a reality that things are bad right now, but the city isn't facing the dire straights many thought it would be facing back in late May.

There are those who say these cuts will be on their way if the HEROES Act isn't passed and if it doesn't offer serious help to New York State's budget. Because of this, so the thinking goes, a buyout may well be on the way anyway. Those folks are half right. We're 1975 level trouble if that bill doesn't provide relief to the state. But, since all indications currently point to that bill making it through the Senate sometime after July 20 (when Congress reconvenes) and including relief for states. So it doesn't look like doomsday is going to happen.

On top of that, the bill I noticed itself provides for a brief 30 day window for employees to file for early retirement According to that bill, that window would open on July 30 and close in August. If that window were to be made, the bill would have to be further along than it is. Checking in A10595, it is still in the Governmental Employees Committee in the Assembly. Its partner, S8599, is still in the Rules Committee in the Senate, The bills were both introduced on June 5th. They haven't' moved out of their committee and have not even begun to be scored in any meaningful way and tomorrow is July 4th. This doesn't leave the kind of time one would think for something to go through the processes and be passed and signed then prepared for employees.

There are folks who may think 'well, they could just change that date. Bills are made from words and words can be edited at any time' and, those folks are right. That could all happen.

It's just that it doesn't look like it will. As bad as it had been, I would like to think government hasn't gotten so bad that they would force a bill like that through with almost no time for people to put in their papers. There would be an outcry from every public employee in the state if not enough notice was provided.

So, the bottom line? It just doesn't look like it's going to happen.

There is still a possibility that all employees may lose 1-2 percent percent of pay through some type of  furlough scheme. A billion dollars in savings (which is what the mayor announced he would be seeking from public employees) from among the roughly 305,700 city employees is about $3,200 per person. For a top earning teacher, that is roughly 2.5% of annual pay. So furloughs, along with some other cost saving measures, may be what plugs the budget hole that is left. Not (probably) a buyout. 


  1. If what you're saying is true, and I think that's probably how it's going to play out, the city is missing out on an opportunity to clear out a lot of "expensive" Tier IV educators out of the system. If they were going to offer an incentive to all who have age 50 and over ten years in, they'd have a mass exodus, saving the city hundreds of millions over the next several years. A lot of people are itching to leave this career, and now with Covid, you have people with compromised health issues who would jump at a chance to leave immediately,instead of putting in more years. The city probably saves big money on paying out max salaries to people to people who otherwise would stay past 22 years. I also believe with the parameters in the bill, a record number of people would take the deal. I also believe it would eliminate the ATR pool because there would be a massive amount of vacancies. In addition to that, principals could hire newbies who would literally earn half the salary of the veterans who take the incentive. I guess we'll have to stay tuned, or maybe this could happen in 2021.

    1. I agree!! Just to add to that, the NYCTRS is the strongest fixed pension/annuity retirement system I can see. They are awash with money, have less than 9,000 retired members to pay and they collect 6.25% from 76,000 teachers every pay day. While the salary budgets are tight, the ability of TRS in NYC (not the state TRS) shouldn't be ignored.

      And yet ...

  2. why do a buyout when they can use fear of going back to force people into retiring?

    1. I think this is ultimately how it will play out. With 12 administrators for every one teacher, it would just be a matter of instilling fear into the targeted group of teachers and then piling on that one teacher who they target. Put those types in a packed room or one with no ventilation .. or "forget" to give them a mask .. and then ride them out on a rail if or when they begin to resist the miserable conditions they are given. This is probably how it will wind up.


    Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon have drafted legislation that would offer a retirement incentive for some public employees in New York state.

    Under the legislation, individuals who are 50 years old with 25 years of service and those who are 55 years old with 10 years of service would be eligible.

    Local governments would have the option of offering the incentive at their discretion.

    Read More: Griffo and Buttenschon Draft Retirement Incentive Legislation |

    1. I think for Bill S8599 it's up to 90 days from the day the window opens.

    2. By the way, I am the anonymous poster who asked the question to you in the first place about this bill. I'm no insider, I'm only a Jane Doe teacher who happen to read someone else's comments on who read someone else's comments about 50/10 in part A and then looked it up myself. I agree that the buyout is unlikely but I find it hilarious that there is an anonymous imposter who is claiming to have posed the question as anonymous me!:) LOL