There are 138 Manteca Unified employees taking early retirement including 58 teachers.
Early retirement will allow the district to save $2.6 million over the next five years. That is the difference between what the pending retirees would have been paid plus the incentives the district offered if they took early retirement and the compensation of the 138 replacement employees that will be hired at the lower end of the salary scale.
The move allows the district to reduce costs in expectation of state funding cutbacks from revenue losses due to economic fallout from business shutdowns triggered by the pandemic
At the same time older staff member that have concerns about working during a pandemic or older teachers not comfortable with distance learning have the ability to retire early.
The retirements are all being taken by June 30.
Besides the 58 teachers there are seven certificated management, 66 non-management classified, and seven classified management taking early retirement.
The last time the district offered early retirement was in 2009 when the district also faced daunting financial challenges during the Great Recession.
The $2.6 million savings will help provide a cushion against what could be a cut — or extended deferral — of state funding for schools in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021.
How the early retirement works can be illustrated by taking a $100,000 salary — a pay level that is not uncommon for long serving teachers — and applying it to two options that someone retiring early has.
The district, like they did in 2009 when they last offered early retirement incentives, provides two options on how the $60,000 incentive is paid to the teacher. One is on a lifetime basis that can add $300 to $400 to a monthly retirement check.
The other is a 5-year plan where the teacher would receive around an additional $1,000 a month on top of their retirement.
For every two teachers making $100,000 a year that exercises such a choice, the district can hire three teachers with 10 years each of classroom experience, cover the payment to the firm handling the early retirement, and still save money.
The financial fallout from the pandemic is uncertain. While the district is on solid financial grounds this year due to sufficient reserves as well as opting in March after the pandemic hit not to fill 100 vacant teaching and support staff positions that is allowing it to weather the state deferring 11 percent of the money until July 1, 2021 that it needs to cover the $256.4 million cost of running the district this school year, the following school year will be trickier.
The state — that has had a massive hole blown in its budget with a $54.3 billion deficit after the pandemic closed down much of the economy — plans to defer up to 40 percent of the money local school districts need to operate in the 2021-2022 school year. School districts have been warned that deferrals could be larger or budget cuts may happen.
If that should occur Manteca Unified could be faced with the need to furlough staff and/or eliminate positions.
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