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Budget crisis prompts 122 school staff to retire early

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POSTED May 6, 2009 1:52 a.m.
Kay White may have erred in her decision to accept the Public Agency Retirement Service package.

“It’s not about the money,” said the third-grade instructor at Brock Elliott School. “But my heart is still into teaching.”

White happens to be among the 62 non-management certified employees at Manteca Unified to enter into PARS.

In order to address a $23.5 million budget shortfall, the school board voted 7-0 to accept the early retirement program at Tuesday’s special meeting.

All told, 122 of the 528 eligible employees of the district entered into the agreement consisting of receiving 75 percent of their final pay based on the year-end 2008-09 figures.

Among certified managers, 16 of the 30 took the early retirement plan while 35 of the 273 non-management classified and nine of the 30 in classified management took up the offer from the Irvine-based group.

In order to be eligible, certificated employees must be age 55 with five years of service in the district, or age 50 with 30 years of service.

Classified employees were required to be at least 50 with five years of district service.

Those in non-management positions would receive 75 percent of their final pay with several options of receiving or investing in their retirement funds.

Administrators can also receive 75 percent of their final pay but with a cap not exceeding $77,153.

White, meanwhile, has 13 years of service to Manteca Unified. She began work here as an aide.

“I want to continue teaching and not retire at this time,” White told the board.

Superintendent Jason Messer indicated that the deal may be irrevocable as of the April 24 deadline.

“Once you try to get one to back out (on the agreement) then you take the risk of having to do it for several,” he said.

The board led by President Michael Seelye suggested White trying part-time teaching or substituting.

“I’ve been retired (as a college professor) for the last two years and I’m making as much (pay) as a substitute,” Seelye said.

 According to PARS, the analysis is entirely driven by the assumptions set forth by the district. Tinkering with the assumptions may change or modify the results or vary from what’s set forth in this analysis.

Added Trustee Wendy King, “The entire package and contents can change if we make one exception.”
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