Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 6:17 pm | Light Rain Fog/Mist 57º


41 Veteran Employees in Santa Maria School District Agree to Retire Early

The Santa Maria-Bonita School District will move forward with an early retirement plan after 41 seasoned employees signed on to participate.

Thirty-six teachers and five certificated managers in the district will retire on or around June 30 as part of a Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) Supplementary Retirement Plan, according to district spokeswoman Maggie White.

They will be paid 80 percent of their salary over five years or over a lifetime.

The Santa Maria-Bonita district, which serves more than 14,400 students in 15 elementary schools and four junior high schools, is expected to save $872,384 over five years with the move by replacing the higher-paid, veteran employees with cheaper, new hires.

This marks the district’s first early retirement plan offered since 2007.

“It’s not something we could offer every year,” White told Noozhawk. “There has to be that significant salary savings.”

In February, the district’s Board of Trustees approved moving forward with the plan if enough employees would participate to save money. PARS determined this week that enough of the 122 eligible teachers and 18 eligible administrators had signed up.

In order to qualify for the plan, teachers and administrators needed to have spent at least 10 years as full-time employees of the district and meet other requirements under the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).

The elementary teachers union approached the district to investigate whether the plan would save money that could be spent elsewhere, White said.

In addition to hiring 41 employees to replace those departing, the district plans to hire 16 new teachers for next school year because of an expected enrollment jump.

“It’s a benefit to them,” White said of the retiring employees, noting the regretful loss of talent. “They can choose to go or not go. For a lot of them, it’s just extra money in their pocket.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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