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Enough teachers take early retirement option to avert pink slips

February 20, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Enough Glendale Unified employees have committed to an early retirement option to stave off the need to issue pink slips later this year, district officials announced this week.

The threat of layoff notices for up to 125 employees had loomed large as Glendale Unified worked to cut spending by about $6 million in an effort to tackle the district’s $15 structural deficit.

But on Tuesday, the school board approved the 115 employees who applied for the district’s early retirement plan.

Although only 61 certificated teachers accepted the early retirement incentive, 51 additional classified employees and three administrative managers also took part in the program, allowing the district millions in the coming years, officials announced this week.

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As 61 teachers retire, district staff recommended refraining from hiring back more than about 30 teachers.

In doing so, Glendale Unified would save $1.6 million in the first year, $4.7 million in three years and $7.9 million in five years, said Maria Gandera, assistant superintendent of human resources.

Additionally, officials confirmed class sizes would not increase to an average 30 students per teacher as was once feared.

But Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan still warned class sizes could increase from an average 24 students to up to 26 in the lowest grades.

“One of the things we could end up doing is to put 28 or 29 [students] in third grade,” he said.

But an official decision on potentially increasing class sizes would be made by the school board at a later date.

“We are currently doing a work-up to see what the impact at the secondary schools would be,” Sheehan added.

School board President Christine Walters said the incentive — which entails each teacher receiving 50% of their base salary for a minimum of five years — was “the most humane way” to avoid layoffs and huge class sizes.

Of the 115 employees who took the offer, 903 employees were eligible.

“Everybody’s making a choice,” Walters said. “The reason why we’re doing this is because we need to reduce our expenses. Even though things are looking better, the ins and outs don’t quite equal yet.”

Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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