By Shane Parmely, SDEA Board member
This past week, SDEA sent out an Action Alert asking everyone to email our School Board members to encourage them to offer our members a SERP, also commonly known as a Golden Handshake. During our recent SDEA Board retreat, I had emphasized how a decent SERP would be crucial (and often the deciding factor) for many teachers considering retirement. I emphasized that a sizeable chunk of teachers were absolutely NOT going to retire until the district compensated them to make up for YEARS of financial fleecing and I shared some of the excellent arguments that members had voiced. So I was absolutely thrilled to read these members’ words in our SDEA email. Our members have great ideas, and this is why it is so important to have SDEA leaders who actively seek out and listen to member input.
When we discussed the SERP during last week’s SDEA Board meeting, I shared a conversation that I’d had with a member who is advocating we push for the District to pay for the two-year incentive offered through CALSTRs. He and his wife are both teachers nearing retirement and their research found that the two-year incentive would bump up the monthly check of retirees for the rest of their lives, which would be of greater financial benefit to retirees who live longer than 14 years after retiring. Executive Director Tim Hill had mentioned this option earlier in the conversation, but said that it was a lot of work to make it happen. Obviously, the relative “ease” with which a SERP can be implemented should not be the determining factor for which plan SDEA pursues for members, and as a Board member, I’ll continue to push for the best possible SERP for our potential retirees.
I also advocated for bringing the District back to the bargaining table NOW (like UTLA is doing) to push for immediately implementing the 5% restoration we are still due, retro to July 1, 2013. Given that the District has been pointing to a huge Fake Future Financial 911 budget gap that will be indisputably filled by the Governor’s recently proposed budget, and that this “deficit” is the reason SDUSD has used to justify needing to postpone our 5% restoration, we have grounds to pull them back to the bargaining table and get the rest of our paychecks. Even with just this additional 5%, many members would consider retiring at the end of this year. Add on a SERP and many members will have their retirement papers filed ASAP. Am I the only one wondering why the majority of SDEA’s current leadership seems so dug in against the idea of making an aggressive salary push at the bargaining table sooner than later?