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DISD Employees Camp Out for $10,000 Incentive

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    A group of Dallas school employees camped out at the district's headquarters to be the first to turn in resignation and retirement forms Saturday morning.

    The Dallas Independent School District is offering incentives of up to $10,000 to employees who volunteer to leave the district. The district will start taking resignations and retirements at 8 a.m.

    Spending the Night at DISD for Resignation Incentive

    [DFW] Spending the Night at DISD for Resignation Incentive
    A group of DISD employees camps out at the district's headquarters to be the first in line to receive incentives for voluntarily leaving. (Published Friday, Feb. 25, 2011)

    Employees started bundling up and hunkering down in the early afternoon.

    "I came by right after school to see where they were wanting us to line up," teacher Chris Czarnecki said. "There were already people here, so I went home and got my blankets and my chairs and decided to come back."

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    About a dozen people were in line by 6:30 p.m.

    "It's kind of a scary decision, you know," teacher Dedee Hoops said. "I'm leaving the district. I've been in it a long time."

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    The group was primarily made up of female teachers who had been teaching in DISD for decades.

    "It's the top-tiered teachers that are retiring and taking this money, so the district is going to lose bodies, but they're going to lose lots and lots of experience," Czarnecki said.

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    The school board approved the incentives Thursday night. Eligible employees will receive 15 percent of their base salary up to $10,000 and agree to work through the end of this school year. The district will pay out up to $7 million in incentives, which are expected to go fast.

    The move is designed to less the number of layoffs the district expects to make because of  expected funding cuts by the Legislature.

    "It is scary, especially if I had a kid in school," Czarnecki said.

    The teachers who were camped out said they hope they're leaving their classrooms in good hands.

    "We'll get new people, hopefully, that will come with energy, but will cost them a lot less," Czarnecki said.