by Max Brantley
Little Rock School Board member Baker Kurrus has distributed a note to other board members and media about the $15,000 early retirement incentive approved on a 5-2 vote last week. It was described as providing enough money to cover health insurance costs for an interim period. His comments:
It is misleading to characterize this plan as an "Early Retirement Insurance Incentive." There are no requirements or conditions that relate to health insurance. We don't know if the plan will actually "offset the cost of health insurance." We never looked at the cost of health insurance options for the retirees, or costed out the options. These costs will be different for almost everyone, and for some the costs will be negligible. For others, the costs will be enormous. We had no data to support the general notion that health insurance costs were an impediment to retirement. Sounds logical, but we just took that on faith, and then decided that $15,000 would handle it. Wow. The plan is available to anyone who retires, regardless of need for health insurance, coverage through another family member, etc. Lucky we didn't decide to give the retirees $500,000 each, I guess. We had as much data to support this amount as we did to support the $15,000.
This money should have been used for kids. We need to get serious about administrative cuts and administrative reorganization.
Failure must have some consequence.
Board President Dianne Curry responds:
Thanks for your comments. I feel as well that we need to get really serious about the administrative level as to a re-organization and or cuts to accommodate meeting budget obligations for the future. We should be ok for the next two years with the stimulus funding; however, I have already expressed as well the need for administrative reorganization.