Schools offer early retirement to cut costs


Davenport schools offering early retirement to teachers, other staff, to cut costs

The Davenport Community School District will be offering an early retirement program to help eliminate an anticipated $2.6 million shortfall in the 2020-2021 school year budget.

District staff used a detailed line item budget while planning this school year’s finances, according to a report that was part of the agenda for Monday night’s school board meeting. With everything, including known numbers and projections, the budget had a positive balance at the end of the year, but the state’s School Budget Review Committee requires a positive balance without certain estimates included. The deficit occurs without those projections.

To allow for variability, the district must also reduce costs beyond the deficit– altogether the reduction will be $4,014,652, according to the report.

The early retirement program focuses on 40 teachers, administrators and nonbargaining employees, according to the report. Their positions will not be filled through the 2022 school year and the reduction is expected to save $2 million this year and again in 2022.

The remainder that must be cut in 2021 will be reduced through various means, including by cutting discretionary spending and not filling other positions that are expected to open.

The board approved the early retirement plan Monday night. The vote was unanimous with all members of the board present.

Board members also heard an update on its efforts to address citations it received from the state.

The district is working to correct compliance issues in a number of areas, including equitable education for Black students. The issues were identified by Iowa education officials during audits at the district. Correction efforts have been ongoing for several years.

The update Monday night came from Jake Klipsch, the district’s program director for social, emotional and behavioral health, and concerned crisis response and violence prevention.

The primary efforts underway in that category are establishing a consensus among district staff at every level on the importance of the issue being a priority for the district, Klipsch said. The other is the preparation of uniform training for staff that will give them a consistent set actions to take should violence such as a fight occur at a building.

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