The Lufkin ISD Board of Trustees discussed potentially adopting a retirement service award program during Tuesday afternoon’s work session.

The program would potentially allow Lufkin ISD teachers to sell their state sick days (up to 60 days) to the district for the price of a substitute teacher, which is currently $85 per day.

“The primary motivator behind this is to cut back on the idea that when teachers retire and they accumulate so many days of state days … most people do not like to leave the job with anything on the table,” Superintendent Lynn Torres said.

“So you have a phenomenon, not in all, but some, who try to take as many days as possible off during the year, which impacts instruction, it impacts the campus.”

Torres said this is a reward system for teachers who are going to retire, not an incentive system to get people to retire.

“If you are leaving and you have days on the table, we would like to buy those back from you as an award,” Torres said.

Texas teachers accumulate state and local sick days. Lufkin ISD provides five local sick days per year, and teachers can only accumulate up to 20. The award system would only work with state sick days, which have no cap on accumulation.

Teachers would have to have a 95% attendance rate during their last year to get the award.

The board discussed the pros and cons, most members leaning toward the idea with the mindset of making sure there was no way to take advantage of the system.

“We could pass it the way it is and have ya’ll monitor it, and we could make adjustments if there becomes abuses, which I doubt there would,” board president Scott Skelton said.

The board also discussed a resolution continuing its annual early resignation notice incentive pay plan for the 2019-20 school year. The incentive plan gives retiring teachers $1,000 for letting the district know they are going to retire as early as possible.

“This does allow us to proactively post vacancies so that we’re in the mix in getting the very best out there,” Torres said.

The program has been in place since the 2015-16 school year, and Torres said she thinks $1,000 has been a good motivator.

The board also discussed updates from House Bill 3 about teacher incentives. Through this state program, teachers can earn extra money based upon performance and growth of students.

At first, Torres thought LISD teachers would not benefit from this program because the district is not considered a rural district; it is considered a town remote.

Instead, she learned the program is on a sliding scale with multiple factors including census blocks and the level of poverty in the community.

Molly Abele with Axley and Rode accounting also spoke to the board about the district’s annual audit and gave an unmodified opinion, meaning she saw no issue with the district’s financial records.

No action was made during this meeting. All action will be taken during the regular board meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.

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