District approves early retirement plan


Budget Secretary Carol Craft poses with her wall of mementos.

By Logan Little, Editor in Chief

The Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) board of trustees passed the Public Agency Retirement Services’ (PARS) supplementary retirement plan (SRP) in an effort to reduce district expenses on Tuesday, January 29.

The retirement plan, offered to both certificated and classified staff, will allot those who choose to retire during the 2018-19 school year 80 percent of their total pay as one time payment, rather than the 20 percent that a retiree would normally receive. This was done to decrease district expenditures in light of the recent budget crisis. Employees who have been working for the district for longer periods of time are paid more than those who are newer. By increasing the number of early retirees, newer, less expensive staff can be hired.

Certificated employees, such as teachers and counselors, are those who are required to have particular licensure for their position, while classified staff are not.

“I didn’t want to go because I love it here. I love it here, but financially with this one time incentive it just makes more sense to go this year as opposed to next year or the year after,” budget secretary Carol Craft said.

Employees were required to decide to retire and apply for SRP by January 25. To be eligible, classified staff must be at least 50 years of age with five years of service in the district and certificated staff must be at minimum 55 years of age with five years of experience or 50 with 30 years.

“In November of 2018, the board approved a relationship with PARS … we were looking to develop a plan whereby we could generate some cost savings via some early retirement with both our certificated and classified numbers,” Human Resources and Facilities administrator Lars Christensen said at the January 29 board meeting.

During the public commentary session, before the retirement proposal passed, Tam librarian Melissa Bowman recommended a motion to extend the deadline to apply for SPR for employees like TUHSD librarians who are uncertain whether their positions will be cut before the next school year.

“At the last meeting, I shared with you my reluctance to turn in a resignation packet before I [know] whether or not my position was eliminated. You made me aware that each of the librarians at Drake, Redwood, and Tamalpais met the criterion for age and years of service with the district for the offer. Coincidence?” Bowman said, and paused for effect. “Before you accept or reject the item before you, please make the motion to amend.”

Bowman’s motion did not pass.

Across the district, of 71 certificated employees who met the age and experience requirements, 24 signed up, or approximately 34 percent, as did 19 employees, or 26 percent, of the 72 eligible classified staff.

The district has not yet released exactly how much will be saved exactly due to SRP. However, the 2019 Fiscal Advisory Draft gave a premature estimate of $500,000 annually a few weeks before employees were required to apply.