Like many private companies that find themselves in a financial pickle, the San Diego Unified School District is handing out golden handshakes. Or maybe you could call them platinum handshakes: Teachers who agree to head out the classroom door will get to collect a full year’s salary.
It’s a good deal for teachers who’ve been around for a while, and it’s a good deal for the district, which has a $124 million shortfall, at least initially. But, as our Ashly McGlone reports in a new story, “documents show the payout will actually begin costing the district money in two years,” assuming that the teachers are all replaced; cumulative savings will go into the red by 2021-2022.
“In total, the retirements and payouts that come with them will save the district $4.48 million in the first two years, but will cost $5.12 million the following three years, for a net loss of more than $635,600, district documents show,” McGlone reports.
A district official said the tradeoff is worth it: “The $600K (cost) is less than a percentage point out of the district’s $1.3 (billion) budget, and worth it to the district to save a large number of teacher layoffs,” district spokeswoman Shari Winet said in an email.
• The governor’s revised proposed budget is less severe than before, and that may be good news for school districts. But much of San Diego Unified’s troubles are of its own making, as we’ve reported, and the state won’t help much in solving the mess.
• In a VOSD commentary, San Diego Unified parent Elaine Camuso criticizes the district for layoff notices that could lead to the removal of a pair of teachers and the demise of Roosevelt Middle School’s International Baccalaureate certification: “I am disappointed — both as a parent and a taxpayer — that the district is going to throw away the investment that has been made in these two teachers. The loss of their skills and rapport with our children would have a huge impact on our community,” she writes.