By Collin Roth
According to the Janesville Gazette, the president of the Janesville teachers union delivered a message to teachers before the union’s contract expired in July: retire now and cash in. Janesville was one of just a handful of school districts in Wisconsin that rejected the tools and flexibility afforded by Act 10, and in turn saw teacher and staff layoffs.
Now, it appears the Janesville School District is beginning to see the light. According to the Janesville Gazette:
The district’s three employee unions likely will lose their contracts July 1. The administration and board have been working on a “handbook” to replace the contracts. The handbook would define benefits and work rules. Negotiations could have pre-empted the handbook process.
Union employees will begin paying more for their pension plans July 1, and the board has signaled its intention to require employees to pay more for health insurance, saving the district millions of dollars.
In response, the Janesville Education Association is advising teachers to retire now in order to cash in and avoid contributing to their pension and healthcare costs. Parr told the Gazette “It’s clear that if you want the benefits of this contract, you have to go now.”
Of course, Janesville Education Association President Dave Parr’s explained that “it’s all about what’s best for the students of Janesville.”
The decision to forgo another contract with the Janesville Education Association is just one of the reforms that Janesville is considering in order to cut costs and improve education. Last week, a proposal was submitted to install merit pay for principals and administrators in the district.