Teacher transfer requirements result in retirement incentives

GBHS educators weigh $20,000 payout to leave profession at end of year


GBT.org illustration/KATE FERNANDEZ

The school district is hoping a more-than-typical number of teachers choose to retire at the end of this school year, and it’s offering a $20,000 bonus to encourage the decision. Teachers who want the money have to commit to retiring by Dec. 6.

The money’s starting to talk, and the district wants to know if people are going to walk.

In an effort to reduce staff upheaval that could result from the opening of the Roseville Joint Union High School District’s newest comprehensive high school next fall, the school board and district officials have decided to offer a $20,000 early retirement incentive if teachers choose to retire by the end of this school year.

Our goal is to reduce (and) avoid involuntarily transferring teachers due to the opening of West Park High School next fall,” said Brad Basham, the RJUHSD superintendent of human resources. “The early retirements may allow newly hired teachers to remain at their current school site or at the very least, increase the number of location choices a teacher may have, if a transfer is necessary.”

Along with reducing the number of involuntary transfers, the early retirement incentive will also help eligible teachers retire early.

The purpose is to help teachers who are near retirement age retire early,” Basham said. “There are several teachers who are eligible to retire, but the cost of health benefits makes it difficult to retire too early.  The early retirement incentive may help teachers bridge the financial gap until they are eligible for Medicare.”

The interested retirement candidates must submit their final decision by Dec. 6.

“The early notification will allow us to identify our hiring needs for (the) 2020-21 (school year), and we should be able to advertise, recruit and hire early in the spring,” Basham said.

Linda Dickson, an Advanced Placement psychology teacher and the yearbook adviser, has been teaching since 1983, and she is one of the few Granite Bay High School teachers who is contemplating early retirement.

I am on the fence since the money isn’t really significant enough,” Dickson said. “But it would be nice to go out this year instead of next year since I have irons in the fire.”

Along with teaching, Dickson also coaches both girls’ and boys’ high school tennis teams, and she is passionate about the sport. 

“I am looking (to) start up (an) international tennis academy within a high-performance sports training facility, and college prep homeschool (students),” Dickson said. “(The goal is) to help student-athletes find a college fit, as well as navigate the college application process”

If I take the $20,000 now, then I will lose out on about $500 a month for the rest of my life.

— Linda Dickson

However, Dickson’s main concern with retiring early is the money.

“If I take the $20,000 now, then I will lose out on about $500 a month (for) the rest of my life because I will be retiring one year earlier than the maximum in terms of retirement benefits,” Dickson said.

Karl Grubaugh, an Advanced Placement economics and journalism teacher and the adviser to the Gazette and GraniteBayToday.org, agreed that the incentive money is not substantial enough to greatly influence his retirement decision.

“The money alone is not the reason why I might retire, but it (has) helped me focus my thinking a bit more,” Grubaugh said.

Grubaugh has been teaching for almost 36 years and is at a stage in his life where retirement is a plausible option.

“The most important thing to me is (that) I want to go out feeling like I am going out at the top of my game, and I feel like I am kind of at the top,” Grubaugh said. “Not that that means I will (retire) … but it is more of a timing (concern).”   

Similar to Dickson, although Grubaugh enjoys his career, he also has a few goals that he would like to accomplish in the future. 

“You’re not living forever, (and so) I kind of have some things I would like to pull off,” Grubaugh said. “I’d like to take up my freelance writing career again and maybe do some more writing for publication.” 

The reasons as to why certain teachers might choose to retire vary depending on their background, but the incentive money does have eligible teachers consider retirement more seriously.

“Everybody’s story is different,” Grubaugh said. “But the $20,000, for me, is enough to at least get my attention.”