ATWATER -- Roughly 10 Merced Union High School District teachers will be spared from layoffs this year because of a school district-sponsored early retirement incentive that was offered to school employees Feb. 10.
Its enactment was approved by school board members Wednesday night.
The district worked out a plan with Public Agency Retirement Services(PARS)to help save money and lessen the impact on layoffs. While the 10 positions will be spared, district officials didn't specify which ones.
Preliminary layoff notices were sent out to about 22 certificated teachers prior to March 15, the state deadline to notify teachers that they may not have a job next year. As the picture became clearer of the district's financial state, the number of actual layoffs decreased to 15.7 full-time employees.
With the enactment of the retirement incentive, the number of teachers who may not come back next year is now 5.5 full-time employees.
The school board did vote to lay off six probationary teachers, five credentialed enrichment teachers and also to reassign two school administrators at the district's March 10 meeting.
The window to sign up for the retirement incentive was Feb. 18 through March 17 and a total of 47 employees -- 20 teachers, 24 classified employees and three classified management employees -- opted to take the incentive.
The district estimated it would save $1.5 million over three years through this effort.
Sheila Whitley, The MUHSD California Teachers Association representative, said this is good news for teachers and students.
"I'm so glad they are bringing people back," she said. "We are working to save every job we can."
Some classes have too many students already, so bringing back teachers will prevent even larger classes, she said.
Employees planning to retire at the end of the year will have an amount equal to 70 percent of their final pay invested into an annuity by the district, which will pay out to them according to the plan of their choice. Employees can choose from several plans, district officials said.
The retirement plan will cost the school district $20,000 a year, for five years, district officials said.
Reporter Jamie Oppenheim can be reached at (209)385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.