SD teachers reject buyouts

May 27, 2013 by

San Diego Unified’s most seasoned educators are resisting the district’s efforts to nudge them off the payroll, raising questions about a budget plan that relies on the elimination of jobs left vacant through attrition.

The latest offer of $25,000 buyouts has been canceled by the district due to a lack of interest among teachers. That will spare the district the expense of giving bonuses retroactively to some teachers who retired last year.

Early-retirement bonuses were offered to a broader pool of employees than initially targeted as the district struggles to cut personnel expenses to help close an estimated $92 million deficit to next year’s $1.1 billion operating budget.

The buyouts were first made available to teachers with 25 years experience who retired in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years with the hope of securing 300 retirements each year. Because only 88 teachers took the buyouts last year, the offer was extended in March to a minimum 100 teachers with at least 20 years of seniority.

That second round of bonus offers has been canceled because only 61 teachers (with minimum 20 years experience) committed to retiring, district officials said Friday.

“The district was disappointed,” said Krista Conn, a human resources administrator with the district. “Those 61 people are still welcome to retire, they just won’t receive the bonuses.”

If 100 teachers had taken the deal by submitting irrevocable retirement papers by May 1, two dozen teachers who retired last school year would have been retroactively eligible for the $25,000 bonuses. In other words, San Diego Unified would have been obligated to spend $600,000 in retirement bonuses for educators who are no longer employed by the district, an arrangement that angered some parent activists who believe the money would be better spent in the classroom. Under the original early-retirement incentive for teachers with 25 years experience, at least 195 submitted preliminary papers that declare their intent to retire this year. So far, 119 of them have finalized their retirement plans, Conn said. A few dozen other teachers who do not qualify for the bonuses have also indicated they may retire this year.

San Diego Unified has a lot riding on the early-retirement program because the hallmark of its budget plan is to cut costs next year by leaving vacant jobs left open through attrition. The district will also sell off real estate to close its deficits through next year.

Superintendent Bill Kowba has said the budget plan is compassionate because it allowed the district to avoid massive teacher layoffs this year.

San Diego school trustee Scott Barnett has been critical of the budget plans, calling the attrition component a crapshoot and the property sales irresponsible.

“This is the riskiest budget probably in the history of the school district,” said Barnett, a former head of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

In the coming weeks, the school board is expected to eliminate jobs for the 2013-14 school year that have been left open through various scenarios, such as employees getting promoted to other positions.

via SD teachers reject buyouts Page 1 of 2 |

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts


Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.