San Diego Unified is not the only school district considering a golden handshake to prod employees to retire. Sweetwater Union High School District in South County is offering such a bonus to all employees, including teachers, principals and the wide range of non-educators who work in schools, such as custodians and bus drivers.

The bonus, still in the planning stages, is considerably smaller than the one under consideration in San Diego Unified. It would give teachers and counselors half of their final salary, principals and other administrators 35 percent of their final salary, and non-educators 20 percent of their final salary. Sweetwater estimates that it needs 150 to 175 teachers or principals to take the golden handshake for it to work out financially.

“In reality if we can’t reach agreement with the teachers, we can’t give it to anyone else,” said Sweetwater spokeswoman Lillian Leopold.

San Diego Unified, in comparison, is considering a bonus that could rival or exceed a full year’s salary. Its golden handshake has been proposed for principals and teachers.

Check out the full Sweetwater offer letter here. And click here for more of our new education blog, Schooled (if you’re not there already), including a breakdown of the estimated savings from the golden handshake.


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