School administrators are pushing the San Diego Unified school board to offer a golden handshake to all school managers leaving the district, not just principals and vice principals, or risk their support in the future. They want to extend the bonus to managers working in central office departments such as finance or curriculum.

The exit bonus, still in its planning stages, has been discussed for principals, vice principals and teachers. It is meant to encourage employees to leave San Diego Unified, allowing their positions to be cut or filled with less expensive, less senior employees without the pain and controversy of layoffs. The actual benefits of any such plan are debated and the savings incurred by the last such bonus are unclear.

Administrators Association Executive Director Jeannie Steeg is urging the school board to include the other managers and warned that failing to do so could risk their support. The group voted to unionize last year and is still at odds with San Diego Unified over which employees can be included in the new bargaining group. Steeg argued that extending the bonus to more management employees would also mean more savings, based on numbers culled from an outside analysis shared with employee groups.

“If you select only one group (principals and vice principals) you will create a divisiveness among the management team that has never existed before,” Steeg wrote via e-mail to the school board. “A rift among many that could last for years. This district has always believed in equity, but there is no equity in this proposal.”

I’ve requested a copy of the report from the legal team in San Diego Unified so that I can review the projected savings for myself. A number of readers have also asked about the final numbers on the last golden handshake; I’m still checking that out.

EMILY ALPERT

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