Grapevine-Colleyville teachers camp out for early-notice bonuses

Forty-six teachers planning to leave the Grapevine-Colleyville school district next year camped out over the weekend for a chance to pocket as much as $8,000 for giving notice early.

"They had a good time," district spokeswoman Megan Overman said Monday. "The first two teachers showed up Friday after school to wait, and by Sunday morning almost all of them were there."

District officials offered the bonuses for a maximum of 40 educators: 25 secondary teachers and 15 elementary teachers.

All the bonuses were taken, Overman said.

"From what I hear, it was almost like a reunion or a campout," Overman said. "They got to see other teachers they hadn't seen in a while; they got to share stories about the good old days. They played games."

The district's human resources staff took turns letting the teachers in the administration building to use the restrooms at intervals during the weekend.

The group received their lineup numbers at 6 a.m. Monday, and the doors opened at 7 a.m., Overman said. Everyone was processed within 23 minutes.

Those taking the buyout will receive a one-time payment of 10 percent of their gross annual base pay up to $8,000. Last year's early-notice incentive was an extra $1,000 for 10 elementary educators and 20 secondary educators.

This year's departing educators can pick up an additional $750 for perfect attendance from April 1 through the end of their work calendar. The incentive is aimed at keeping teachers who have unused personal days from taking them and causing understaffing the rest of the semester.

The Grapevine-Colleyville district is facing the second year of big cuts in state funding that will total more than $8 million for the 2012-13 year, Overman said. The state cuts initiated last year totaled $14 million over the biennium.

Early notifications from departing teachers will help the district in budgeting, Overman said, since the staff departures count against the $6.8 million budget shortfall that district officials are expecting. Part of the money to cover the deficit will come from further budget reductions, and the rest will be withdrawn from the fund balance.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657

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