ST. JOSEPH, Mich. — Schools everywhere are looking for ways to cut costs, and often that means laying off teachers. But St. Joseph schools in Michigan hope they won't have to send out any pink slips. They are paying teachers to encourage them to retire. Superintendent Allen Skibbe might have to make some tough decisions by April 15. "On April 15 we issue layoff notices to teachers that we won't be bringing back due to budget cuts," said Skibbe. But the district hopes a new plan will help them avoid sending out any pink slips. "We would like to reduce that number to zero if we can, by getting resignations from our staff prior to that time," said Skibbe. So the district is offering a big incentive to teachers who choose to retire: $10,000. Saint Joseph School District has a growing budget deficit. It is expected to reach $2 million next year. The district is hoping the money will entice those who were anticipating retirement in the next couple of years would take the plunge now. "Ten thousand dollars is really what we would pay in unemployment benefits to teachers if we were to lay them off. If we can get our teachers, who have been putting many great years in with us, and give them an incentive, we can double our savings for next year," said Skibbe. There are 168 teachers in the district. School officials hope to entice up to 12 teachers, but there are some who questions whether saying goodbye to experienced teachers is too great a loss. "Anytime we lose a senior veteran member, there is a loss," says Skibbe. Michael Horvath is the dean of education at IU South Bend. He says while you lose some expertise, schools are by no means losing. "Our graduates can go into the classroom with energy, enthusiasm and passion for teaching and make a difference," said Horvath. Skibbe says the loss of experience is a tough price to pay, but one that will save the district nearly a million dollars.