Two special education teachers resign, undisclosed number of instructors laid off

Events are unfolding rapidly at Taft Union High School where nine teachers agreed to accept an early retirement incentive, two special education teachers have resigned and an undisclosed number of certificated staff received layoff notices last week.

The TUHS District Board of Trustees approved the agreement for the retirement incentives at a special meeting last week and pink slips went out afterwards.

The resignations of the two special education teachers were approved by the Board at Monday night's March Board meeting.

TUHS is facing a significant drop in revenue in the coming years and, without cuts, could have a budget deficit of nearly $3 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year, according to an interim budget report issued in January.

The early retirements could save the District up to $3.8 million over the next five years, depending on how many of the retiring teachers need to be replaced, according to a TUHS District report.
Hours before the incentive was approved by the Board, the TUHS teachers bargaining unit ratified a memorandum of understanding to accept additional work and will have just one prep period instead of two starting in the fall semester.

In total, the District is seeking to cut the equivalent of 16 full-time teaching positions.

There were nine positions eliminated through the early retirement incentive.

According to a District report, the savings could be substantial, depending on how many of the teachers taking early retirement need to be replaced.

"The post-analysis performed by (Public Agency Retirement Services) projects that the plan would result in a net fiscal savings to the District of anywhere from $192,504 over a 5 year period if all retiring employees needed to be replaced, to $3,782,794 over a five year period if only two of the retiring employees need to be replaced," the report states.

The District is currently estimating that four of the teachers will need to be replaced.

That would reduce the projected savings by a million dollars to $2.8 million over the five-year period.

However, it is uncertain how many jobs will be eliminated through the early retirement incentive.

"These are preliminary estimates, and it is possible that: (1) we may need to replace as many as five of the retiring employees (5 year savings of $2,244,09), or (2) we may be able to absorb as many as seven of the retiring employees without replacement (savings of $3,782,794)," the report states. "We will need to make those determinations as we move through preferencing for students over the next couple of months.”