The U.S. Department of Education has offered 255 employees the chance to retire early or voluntarily step down from their positions in exchange for a buyout, a department spokesman said.
It’s not clear if the offers are part of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ plan to trim the federal footprint on K-12, since these types of buyouts aren’t unique to the Trump administration. Back in 2010, the department, then under the Obama administration’s control, offered buyouts to 349 employees, the spokesman said. It’s unclear if that was a budget cutting or consolidation move. And from December of 2010 to January of 2014, 174 department employees received buyouts.
Federal employees are eligible for early retirement if they are over 50 and have 20 years of federal service or more. And employees at any age can take early retirement if they have served for more than 25 years in the federal government. Other employees can voluntarily leave government service, in exchange for a buy-out offer, typically of no more than about $25,000. Employees must repay the money if they return to the federal workforce within a certain time frame, usually five years.
The possibility of buyouts, in the Office of Student Financial Aid, was first reported by the Washington Post. These buy-outs are department wide, the spokesman said.