DCPS pulls retirement bonus proposal after Action News Jax questions

DCPS RETIREMENT CHANGE: Plan to increase contributions pulled from agenda

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools will remove a board meeting agenda item that would have doled out more than a quarter-million dollars in retirement contribution enhancements to 12 administrators had it been approved by the board in a meeting next week.

Action News Jax Investigates learned the decision to remove the proposal was made a few hours after we started asking questions this afternoon.

Taxpayers like Jacksonville’s Caroline Nelson wanted to know more about the reasoning behind the enhancements.

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“How are they doing this?” she asked. “And why are they doing this?”

According to the agenda item, which we’re told will not be presented to the school board at the upcoming meeting on Aug. 6, these 12 positions would have been instantly eligible for retirement money enhancements:

  • Deputy superintendent
  • Chief of staff
  • Chief financial officer
  • Chief information officer
  • Chief of schools
  • Chief academic officer
  • Assistant superintendent of operations
  • Assistant superintendent of school choice
  • Chief of marketing and public relation
  • Assistant superintendent of human resource services
  • Assistant superintendent of accountability and assessment
  • Executive director of school police

The measure would have changed the job classification for the dozen employees to Senior Management Service Class allowing the positions to become eligible for the enhancements.

“The current contribution rate for the Cabinet positions is 8.47%,” said the agenda item. “Once the positions are designated to the SMSC, the contribution rates will increase to 25.41%.”

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That would have been a total impact of $287,930.37 in the 2019-20 school year.

DCPS Chief of Marketing and Public Relations Tracy Pierce issued the following statement on the reasoning behind the decision to remove the item from the agenda:

"It was the district's desire to provide leaders with a benefit that almost all other large school district leaders already have. Leaders of many other local agencies under the Florida Retirement System also have this benefit.
"The original plan was to offer this benefit in place of a normal salary adjustment.
"A typical 3 percent annual salary adjustment would cost the district about $51,000 in comparison to this action which would have cost more than $250,000.
"After understanding the cost in relation to a normal salary adjustment, the superintendent has decided to pull the item from the board agenda, and it is no longer under consideration."
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