Time to shake on it

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After years of working as educators and certified staff, teachers are stepping out of the classrooms. The Escondido Secondary Teachers Association reached an agreement with the Escondido Union High School District, regarding a special retirement incentive for faculty and staff. The incentives are typically offered every five years.

“People in the district who are older and able to retire, sometimes need a little of incentive to leave. A retirement incentive helps them retire with a little bit of extra money,” ESTA President Anna Cady said.

The offer given to retiring individuals was 70% of what they would have made in a single year. This percent would not be given out in a lump sum. Retirees had a choice on how the money would be dispersed. Depending on the individual, the 70% of their salary could be taken at a minimum of five years of payment. It could also be take in 20 years, but each payment would be less per year. Regardless, the sum and percent would stay the same. The offer given did not correlate with any health benefits. The percent offer was only for their salary.

“This offer is what pushed me over in my decision whether to retire or not. I still love teaching, but I thought that I’m not going to get this within the next three years which is when I thought about retiring,” English teacher Susan Fields said. She started teaching in 1977 and has taught for more than 40 years.

An official notification about the offer was not released until around Dec. 21 and then retirees had until Mar. 1 to take the offer and put in their official retirement papers. There was a meeting discussing the offer and one of the conditions of it were that 18 members of the union had to agree.

“I had decided to retire before the incentive was offered, but had it not been offered, I would have still retired. It’s a generous and unexpected bonus,” English teacher Maureen Smith said. She has been teaching for 44 years.