Buying out the teachers

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama administrators are borrowing a page from the private sector and offering buyouts to teachers and support staff.

They hope the money will encourage people to leave voluntarily, which will mean fewer layoffs.

Craig Pouncey, assistant finance superintendent for Alabama schools, said several systems are now considering the buyouts, which range from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on positions and years of service.

School boards for Tallapoosa County and Alex City schools have passed buyout plans and similar moves are being discussed by officials for Mobile, Baldwin, Montgomery and Ozark schools.

Legislators are preparing to slash the state's education budget for the second straight year in the new session starting next week.

The projected $5.7 billion 2009-10 budget is a $1 billion drop from 2008's all-time high.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)