Retirement incentive plans: Issues, practices, and outcomes

Frank Vincent Auriemma, Fordham University


Declining enrollments have decreased the size of many suburban public school faculties throughout the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut tristate area. As a result, it is common to see faculty members with 15 or more years of experience lose their jobs as a result of an ever decreasing student population. The "last hired--first fired" provision of employment coupled with declining enrollment have created many school faculties made up primarily of senior teachers. School districts have begun to offer their employees a variety of retirement incentive plans to address the above-mentioned concerns. This dissertation studied retirement incentive plans using a comparative case study format. These plans were designated as liberal, moderate, or conservative through the use of a percentage ratio, defined as the incentive payout divided by the district's maximum teacher salary. Retirement incentive plans with a high percentage ratio were classified as liberal, while those with medium or low percentage ratios were considered moderate or conservative, respectively. The study examined the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of these plans by collecting data from the school districts and interviewing superintendents, teacher union officials, and teachers from each district. In addition, a segment of the study examined the decision making process that takes place as teachers decide to participate in a retirement incentive plan. Data for this aspect of the study were collected by interview with a specific protocol. The overall success of the plans was determined by their cost effectiveness, defined as the amount saved by the plan divided by the amount paid out in incentives. The results of the study showed that a high incentive payout did not necessarily promote a high rate of participation or cost effectiveness. The two conservative plans had both the highest cost effectiveness and the highest rate of participation. The study also created a profile of retiring and newly hired teachers highlighting age, salary, years of experience, and certification. Eleven findings were established along with recommendations for superintendents and union officials interested in the formulation of retirement incentive plans. The research indicated that school districts capable of formulating cost effective plans could renew and revitalize their school organization while realizing gains in the areas of personnel and finance.

Subject Area

School administration|School finance|Education

Recommended Citation

Auriemma, Frank Vincent, "Retirement incentive plans: Issues, practices, and outcomes" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109225.