SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education Tuesday night approved an agreement with the teachers union to implement a supplemental early retirement program intended to help balance its budget.
The board unanimously approved the amendment to the memorandum of understanding with the San Diego Education Association, the union representing the district’s teachers, allowing for the retirement incentive plan for eligible teachers.
District officials said the supplemental early retirement program could save $32.9 million over the next five years. The proceeds from real estate sales are expected to cover about $80.3 million of next year’s anticipated shortfall of $115.6 million.
Board President Kevin Beiser said the early retirement incentive “is actually going to save the school district millions of dollars in next year’s budget, and that’s money that’s going to be good for kids.”
As of May 5, 458 San Diego Unified teachers had enrolled in the supplemental early retirement program. District officials will have the option to withdraw the incentive if at least 547 SDEA-represented teachers do not enroll.
Participants have until May 23 to submit a non-revocable resignation, and those accepted to teach summer school will have until the last workday of the program.
District officials said the early retirement program would be advantageous because enrollment was continuing to decline and new common core standards and other requirements will necessitate adjustments to some courses.
SDEA-represented teachers 55 years of age and older with five years of state teachers retirement system credit, or who are 50 to 54 with 30 years state retirement credit will be eligible for the early retirement program, according to the association’s website. Eligible teachers also are required to have been with the district for at least five years.
Under the agreement, all of an eligible teacher’s final annual salary is to paid into an annuity over five years, and participants can choose from several payout options.
District and SDEA officials reached an agreement for the amendment in February, and it was subsequently approved by the county Office of Education.
A final review of the affected employees is scheduled to be presented to the school board May 27.
Story by Sarah Sapeda with City News Service