Distance learning has been disruptive to the lives of some students and parents, of course, and now some families with students in the San Diego Unified District face another disruption, with some teachers not returning after winter break.
At its Tuesday meeting, the school board approved early retirement packages as a way to save money at a time when enrollment is dropping and layoffs could be looming. Three hundred seventy employees 55 and older are taking the buyouts, including 130 teachers, counselors and nurses. Those not on Medicare will receive $75,000 in health care reimbursements to be paid out over five years. Those on Medicare will receive $25,000 in health care reimbursements paid out over five years.
“I was pretty sad and surprised,” parent Jennifer Fox said. “My daughter’s teacher is great, and I was just disappointed the district has decided to offer these mid-year retirement packages to teachers in this pandemic year when it’s already so tough.”
Her daughter’s teacher is being moved to another class to replace a teacher who is retiring. Fox said her daughter’s school and principal have been helpful and communicative, but she questions the district’s timing.
“We as a district offered this retirement opportunity specifically at this time, specifically so we can prepare for our future,” Superintendent Cindy Marten said during Tuesday’s board meeting.
Marten promised a smooth transition, and the board said it has a plan to fill positions and minimize teacher shuffling.
The board also approved an interim budget that projects $155 million in cuts next year. That could change, depending on Gov. Gavin Newsom's January proposed budget.