You could say Hamtramck’s public school teachers are pretty smart.
The teachers’ union took a major contract concession by agreeing to a less expensive health insurance coverage plan. The district will now save $453,000 a year with this agreement. That savings will make a big dent in the district’s projected $1.7 million deficit and prevent a massive layoff.
Hamtramck’s school district has a five-year plan to wipe out that deficit but there is no guarantee that the state won’t continue to make deeper cuts in the amount of financial aid it sends to schools.
Many of the state’s districts, about 300 out of over 500, are likely to face financial failure in the coming years unless the state reinstates funding cuts made in the last few years. Hamtramck has taken an aggressive hands-on approach to stave off financial disaster.
Teachers here could take one more step in helping to reduce costs. There are about 50 teachers who are eligible for retirement, although some do not have enough years to receive a full pension.
To sweeten the deal, Gov. Granholm is offering teachers a financial incentive to retire now instead of later. In these uncertain times, it might be wise to take what you can get now instead of risking being laid off.
Yeah, decisions like these suck, but these are uncertain times.