FORT WORTH -- Dangling a $5,000 bonus in front of Fort Worth school district teachers and other employees didn't bring in the number of resignations that officials had hoped for, meaning that layoffs are on the horizon.
In all, 331 teachers, 64 degreed staff members and 59 other employees notified school officials by a Wednesday night deadline that they will not return next school year.
Officials had hoped that 600 teachers and 100 degreed staff members would retire or resign so that layoffs could be avoided or dramatically reduced.
Teachers were at first offered $500, then $1,000. Then $5,000 was offered to the first 100 degreed staff members and the first 600 teachers who took the offer.
While the effort fell short, Chief Financial Officer Hank Johnson said the bonuses made a difference.
"I'm hoping with incentive, [the layoffs] will be a very small number now," Johnson said. "It could have been devastating. But we still need to evaluate to see what positions are affected and what that means."
Administrators have said that fewer employees have been retiring or leaving the district in recent years as the economy struggles. Because other districts are also having layoffs, the job market is tough.
Johnson said it is unclear how many employees may lose their jobs. Officials must now evaluate who is resigning or retiring to determine what jobs must be filled or can be eliminated.
For example, administrators proposed cutting about 10 assistant principal positions. Sylvia Reyna, chief of administration, told trustees this week that at least that many assistant principals had taken the buyout, so cuts in that area will likely not be necessary.
Officials are expected to vote on job cuts and contracts at a meeting April 12. Teachers and other school employees must be notified by April 15 if their contracts will not be renewed for next year.
This month, trustees rejected declaring a "reduction in force" that would have allowed for layoffs, saying they hoped that enough employees will not return next year. Trustees are expected to vote on that measure at next month's meeting as well.