The primary way in which the district has restricted its amount of employees is through a retirement incentive, which if accepted, would allow an employee to be paid 80 percent of their current salary during their first year of retirement.
According to Corbett Elsen, the Chief Financial Officer of the TUHSD, the retirement incentive heavily decreased the amount of employees within the TUHSD, which will save the district money immediately.
“The whole point of that is to minimize the teachers who were laid off, forced to leave. By offering a voluntary retirement incentive, more people choose to leave, therefore reducing the number of people we have to force to leave––which we don’t want to do,” Elsen said.
Christensen claims that the retirement incentive has effectively accomplished the goal of saving money by reducing the number of staff while also limiting the number of layoffs.
“It has been very effective, both on the certificate and classified side. A total of 43 people are retiring via Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) ... That doesn’t mean we’ll have a total of 43 less people, but the people who are coming back will be, quite frankly, less expensive than the ones who are retiring out,” Christensen said.
Although the retirement incentive has encouraged many veteran teachers to retire, there will be no change in the quality of education, according to Elsen, as it is only speeding up a natural process.
“When you look at the names on the retirement list, it is a group of all-star teachers who have dedicated their lives to teaching. We’re going to miss them, there’s no doubt about it … but every year that’s the case, this is just a bigger year,” Elsen said.