HAZEL PARK, Mich. - More than three quarters of Hazel Park Schools teachers are at the top of the district salary scale, earning about $76,000 a year each, according to a report in the (Royal Oak) Daily Tribune. Now the district is offering them $40,000 each as a retirement incentive.

The money would be paid to teachers over a five-year period, Deputy Superintendent Jim Meisinger told the Hazel Park school board, according to the Tribune. The district would save money either by not replacing retirees or by hiring newcomers at an estimated $34,000 each.

Hazel Park's budget overspends by $5.7 million this year, the Tribune reported, and it must submit a corrective plan to the Michigan Department of Education by Oct. 1 explaining how it will eliminate that deficit. Failure to do so could result in loss of state aid, fines or jail time for officials, according to the Tribune.

Secretaries, custodians, bus drivers and cafeteria workers are being offered a $20,000 retirement incentive, the Tribune reported. 

Calvin Mott, executive director of the South Oakland District of the Michigan Education Association, called the incentive package a "fair amount," and said he expects the board to ask for union concessions as well, the Tribune reported.

The (Royal Oak) Daily Tribune, "Hazel Park offers retirement incentives," Sept. 27, 2009 

Michigan Education Digest, "State: Fix budget or go to jail," Aug. 18, 2009