Wednesday, March 4, 2009
More than 630 veteran teachers in the San Diego Unified School District now have the option of taking a financial buy-out to retire early. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.
The San Diego teachers union struck a deal with San Diego Unified on a so-called Golden Handshake. The deal is designed to save the district money in the long-run because it allows the district to hire new teachers at a lower-pay scale.
Union leaders wanted savings to go toward the salaries of existing teachers. But the district refused.
Union president Camille Zombro says her group will use this compromise as a bargaining chip for salary hikes and better working conditions during contract negotiations.
"Teachers are being asked to do more and more every single year," Zombro says. "The concern, of course, is if there is going to be a large number of folks leaving, then who is going to do that work? And right now our existing educators are being stretched farther than ever before."
Teachers and hundreds of other veteran school employees who have been offered a Golden Handshake have until May to take the offer. Estimates show the early retirement plans might save the district up to 17 million dollars next school year.
Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.