Some upset San Diego Unified School District giving already retired teachers incentives

District plans to give $600K to 24 teachers

SAN DIEGO - Many parents are upset with the San Diego Unified School District after learning teachers who aren't teaching anymore are receiving money from the district.

"Where are they finding the money to give people that have already retired a bonus of $25,000?" asked parent and district School Site Council chair Sally Smith.

Smith said she was "dumbstruck" when she heard how the district had modified its retirement incentive plan.

Last year, the district offered $25,000 buyouts to get 25-year veteran teachers, at least 55 years old, to retire.

Only 88 teachers took the district's offer.

SD Unified has dropped the teaching experience qualification to 20 years, but now some teachers who retired within the last year and didn't previously qualify are now eligible.

Even though they no longer teach, the teacher's union is requiring the district to give bonuses to those 24 teachers -- a total of $600,000.

"That's $600,000 that the children didn't get," said Smith.

SD Unified School Board President John Lee Evans said for the union it was a matter of equity, and for him, the $600,000 is a small price to pay to get teachers off the payroll without layoffs.

"The fact of the matter is by not having to rehire all of those teachers, we're only planning on rehiring about a third of them; we're saving over $10 million," said Evans.

Evans said the lower salary of new teachers offsets the $25,000 incentive.

Smith, however, said she's not convinced.

"What it does is it leaves the school district with no teachers with experience, with no teachers to be mentors to the young teachers," said Smith.

Smith also called this use of taxpayer money "a slap in the face to voters" who approved state Proposition 30, which gives money to school districts.

Evans said it had to be done, adding, "We could have said no, we don't want to pay that out, and then we would have no deal at all and we would not save these millions of dollars."

"It's very frustrating to see that the school board is placing the adults ahead of the children," said Smith.

The retirement incentives only kick in if at least 100 20-year veteran teachers hand in binding retirement documents by May 1.

The district's goal is to get 300 takers total, and as of March 1, nearly 170 who qualify have indicated they may retire.

Print this article Back to Top