The San Diego Unified school board voted unanimously this morning to accept a “golden handshake” for employees that it now projects that it will save nearly $9 million next school year and more than $19 million over the next five years. The bonus is meant to encourage veteran employees to leave the district so that they can be replaced with less expensive, less experienced workers — or not replaced at all.

The board also voted to extend the deadline for teachers to sign up for an additional two weeks in an attempt to get more teachers to enroll. That extension is not available to other employees, whose departures do not typically save as much money for the school district.

The updated estimate of the bonus’ savings uses the actual salaries of the more than 1,000 people who are leaving the district. It assumes that San Diego Unified will replace all the exiting teachers, the largest group of departing employees. That is a very conservative assumption because San Diego Unified is also trying to bargain increases in class size and other changes that would eliminate teaching jobs to balance its budget. Not replacing teachers who leave would allow schools to cut teaching jobs without laying off teachers.


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