Manteca Unified is looking to hire up to 60 new teachers.
The need for new teachers is primarily the result of an early retirement program being offered at the start of 2021.
The district offered the option for two reasons. First, it would give teachers that have concerns about COVID-19 the ability to retire early when conditions allow students to start transitioning back to the classrooms. It would also help reduce general fund expenditures for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021 when the state is expected to cut or extend deferral of state funds due to a $54.3 billion revenue shortfall the pandemic has created.
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.
The strategy would make it likely the district could avoid teacher layoffs next year. As such the move would protect the jobs of teachers that have just started working for Manteca Unified during the past several years. It would also avoid a situation where budget shortfalls are so steep they would force a considerable increase in teacher to student ratios.
The Manteca Educators Association and Manteca Unified School District board agreed last month to a memorandum of understanding that offers an early retirement option for those teachers who may qualify and wish to take. It includes three dates the early retirement option can be taken — Jan. 4, 2021; Feb. 26, 2021; and June 30, 2021.
The option would give eligible teachers up to 60 percent of their final year salary to retire early.
Many of the new hires will start teaching in December. Others will start working at the beginning of the 2021-2020 school year.
The district in recent years has stayed on top of filling teaching positions by offering contracts to teachers as far as six months ahead of their actual start date. While their pay and employment typically doesn’t start until the next school year, it provides them the certainty of having a job. The district also makes a commitment to use teachers they have signed to contracts hat start with the following school year as substitute teachers in the meantime.
The MUSD flyer announcing the teaching openings notes the district offers the leading salaries in the area; $920 in contributions to medical, dental, and vision; digital learning TK-12th grade with every student having a district issued device, a free teacher induction program, and stipends for specialized credentials.
The deadline to apply is Oct. 26.
To apply go to edjoin.org/musd.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org